The Fourth Dimension: First Hand Depiction

Handwritten Statement

Maurice Golubov - Self Portrait 1934

“Well after many years of experiment, I discovered and built a 4 dimensional figure or symbol. Gradually discovering that I did this anyhow – unaware not conscious that I naturally employed such a system and that is why I became an abstractionist at age of 16.”

— Maurice Golubov

The Fourth Dimension

In my early childhood when I started to copy some of the wonderful illustrations from the Doré Bible that I found in the barn (I was mildly punished by mother for doing so). I acquired an appetite to secretly do some drawings of my own things that interested me – such as the Angel who rewarded me from Heaven with a penny for doing my homework right (out of the Bible), to describe things that fascinated me such as my Rabbi who taught me (us children) the bible – etc. I became fascinated by that mysterious world about which the Rabbi and all my fellow classmates talked about – about the Chassidic world I grew up into. I studied the first steps towards a Rabbinical education and mystical lore was the constant subject or topic in my my environment. Mysticism was grounded into me and God was my personal friend to whom I had to know to how pray and he would give me all things my heart desired. I would find a way through a few mysterious words to have wings to fly to all parts of the world and to have great powers to achieve everything my heart desired.

Later I started to imagine and to draw things of that mysterious world of the mind. Abstraction became my true realism, but how to really find a way to bring it out on paper with a pencil or crayon and to create my own reality was always my unclear wish. When I entered my teens, my burning interest was to explore the mysteries of the unseen world which somehow was very real to me even though I could not touch it or see it. I accidentally came across in the library (at age of 16 and I was an avid reader) upon books such as The Greek philosophers –  Plato included, which I devoured and not really grasping its true meaning, but it fascinated me because there was a key opening up of that wonderful world I dreamt of all the time. Books by Spinoza – by Schopenhauer – even Kant and Fichte and Berkeley and the Emerson Essays and finally poetry and Medieval Jewish Philosophy – and the mystical world of Eastern philosophical literature – The Gita – The Upanishads, and many others – especially Sri Aurobindo’s “Life Divine” and “Synthesis of Yoga”. All this greatly enlarged and opened my imagination and vision and glimpses into a world unseen. Abstract and yet more real and of greater truth of no end than of the world of my eyes and ears etc. I seriously started to find symbolic means to be able to express all this wonder in pictorial terms. 

At this period I was extremely fortunate to meet a human being who seemed to have come from that mysterious superior world and my fate was to meet her and to submit to her teachings. I was at first vaguely aware of it, but not until time passed and I realized almost daily about this great treasure that Heaven sent me. Daily, I learned from my great friend and beloved wife [Sylvia Glasser] how to explore and to learn by example, how to try to be pictorially what she did with her great art (the King of all arts I thought), music. A [Sylvia] great musician who was very humble and constantly tried to learn more and more about her great world (what I thought was the world of the Divine) – the conversation of Angels were constantly my companions – and I tried to emulate the world of Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Beethoven, Bach and much more. To find a way to emulate this superior world in terms of designs and shapes and colors and have always looked for that mysterious symbol which would enable me to have the first important key to enter the world of different dimensions – that of the very beautiful, but by comparison very poor world of earthly shapes, colors and forms.

The 3 dimensional familiar world around me, which still fascinated me – because it had many fascinating and mysterious things about it – was not enough. I worked and experimented endlessly to find a key to enter the fourth dimensional hidden world behind the third. And in doing so it maybe possible to perhaps go even further and have glimpses of higher evolution – all this if it may be expressed in graphic art (which music seemed so easily to do). If I could even approach the condition where music achieved it would be a big thing. I thought if I could find the key to the 4th dimensional world – or precisely to find or create a 4th dimensional figure – that would enable me to explore a rich mysterious, unknown world and even lead to further dimensions.

I reasoned that if the Bible taught that God created the universe in 7 days, there must be 7 dimensions of space either physical or psychological. And God would come to a rest in 7th which in Jewish faith we call Sabbath. Henri Bergson thought that God was still in process of evolution (creative evolution) that the absolute was even beyond the infinite.  Incomprehensible to the human poor receiving set called the brain which could handle only a limited range of vibrations. But enough to say is that I would be happy and satisfied to explore successfully the fourth which is still a physical realm – and perhaps that would suggest to me a realm beyond the physical, namely the Metaphysical, inexpressible of course in graphic technology.

Well after many years of experiment, I discovered and built a 4 dimensional figure or symbol (gradually discovering that I did this anyhow – unaware not conscious that I naturally employed such a system and that is why I became an abstractionist at age of 16). When I was a student in National Academy of Design in NY in the 1920’s, my teachers were puzzled why a student who was awarded a Silver Medal for drawing at age 17 was so involved in drawing mysterious abstract shapes on the pages of life drawings – which my teacher Ivan Olinsky was praising so much. He wanted to know what was the crazy idea? I replied, “you call yourselves the National Academy of Design ‘N.A.D’ and yet you do not teach me design – and I must find out from myself how to design shapes beautifully and bring order out of chaos, because God did this with his Universe.” Also, to enable to me to place in right positions and relationships of any shapes, abstract or real. He brought chaos out of order – and since He did, who am I to ignore His wisdom – and this meant to introduce design into everything my hand touched. If not in my life, at least in my work – because I felt that the great Mystery of Mysteries brought me to be the instrument of His wishes – to practice beauty to explore the best in me and to praise Him for this great job assigned to me and that was the purpose of my existence. I felt it was my excuse for having been placed here – even in the world of Death – to snatch constantly eternal Life from Death through beautiful permanent forms and symbols (much more easily achieved through music and perhaps true religious feelings).

Well having discovered this key I invented for myself what I pleased to call a “4 dimensional figure” which would enable me to create a design to tackle a given Symbol or Theme (or Motive, Cezanne called it a motive) and to explore it not only from the surface aspect (it makes no difference whether it was so called realistic shape or abstract shape), but it gave me an easy way of handling this in every possible condition such as top, bottom, this side – that side – any side – the depth of any direction. In a limited way to form an illogically logical possibility of a world arrested in many endless moments into one whole instant moment.

Let me illustrate what I mean.

If this is a symbol of movement such as a dot, the movement of this dot will create the first dimension of space (I like to think of it as EN–SOF a Kabalistic term for the Absolute or Infinite).

The movement of the first dimension will result in the second dimension, a surface of reality.

The movement in depth of this surface touched off by EN-SOF (or creation, or the word or what have you) will create the dimension (3), which is our world of surfaces.

OK – now how to explore this world of surfaces in order to arrive at the 4th dimensional aspect. Actually, the element called time now plays the big role. In order to achieve the 4th dimensional aspect, it is necessary to introduce into this a new element (what else can it be?). But a circular element – since this can touch and explore every possible space in this three dimensional space.

Therefore the square and the circle are the only things we understand and from there everything possible is derived. I like to use a diamond shape, which is really a square shape placed in a different position and it can have many different characteristics such as for example:

The diamond is a symbol of the 4 dimensions in a surface way – now the introduction into this of a circular or particularly spiral movement will naturally go into depth – whether the depth goes into the physical foot or mile or whatever. The circle or spiral can explore every possible space in and around it.

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