Zadik was born in 1948 in Erevan, Soviet Armenia. At the age of 15 he entered the Art Academy of Erevan. As an outstanding student he exhibited his sculptures in the museums of contemporary art in Erevan and Moscow. At the age of 19 he made a life-daring escape by swimming across the Arax river in freezing Winter, amid machine-gun bullets and border guard dogs, and made his way to America.
In 1969 he arrived in San Francisco where he met and became assistant to the sculptor Benjamino Bufano, friend of Brancusi, who was making large scale commissions for public spaces. He was greatly influenced by Bufano’s productivity and under his influence developed a keen sense for scale, color and the discipline of work. In 1974 he moved to New York City, became friends with Richard Serra and assisted him in producing many of the huge black oil-stick wall drawings. The first of these was named after “Zadikian” Both the physical and cultural life of New York had a profound effect on him.
Amid the diversity and “poverty” of possibilities (with his contempt for chaos, decay and “angst”) heroically he strove to establish a unique identity of his own. In 1976 he covered his entire home and studio, 10,000 square feet of walls, floor and ceiling with industrial gold, by pounding and gilding so as to uniformly transform it into a singularly radiant vision. A predilection for the magic and majesty of gold leaf led to the 1978 project of “1000 Bricks Gilded in 24 Karat Gold Leaf.”
In his relentless push towards distilling the essence of form and surface, his next iteration was to create unique unit/brick like structures and gild them. Gold having become his unifying material, like an alchemist he transmuted everything into this Noble metal – from ancient stone reliefs to alien like figures. These auric works recreated worlds beyond the realm of everyday thought, bordering on the threshold of the Timeless and the Eternal.
His concerns with art dive into nature’s most fundamental structures. Units of everlasting elegance on which higher forms are born, always paradoxically mixing the extravagant with the simplest of form.
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