Thoughts & Insights

True Worlds

In March 2004 OUBEY announced that he would paint a thousand stars. It was the first time in twenty years that he so concretely envisaged and publicly announced an artistic project. And it was certainly no coincidence that he dedicated this project to the stars.

Because OUBEY’s connection with the cosmos and its uncountable number of stars and galaxies already opened up true worlds to him from a young age. There is an idea of these true worlds to be found in the preface to Arthur C. Clarke’s world-famous science fiction novel “2001: A Space Odyssey”, which he wrote together with Stanley Kubrick, who in turn made a film adaptation of this novel in 1969, thus creating a cinematic masterpiece of the highest order. What an excellent text and inspiring contribution to one of the five volumes of the book “OUBEY MINDKISS”, titled “StarPixels”.

The truth will be far stranger

“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this universe, there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small nearby star we call the Sun. And many – perhaps most – of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven – or hell.

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times further away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars.

Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however, are asking: `Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?´

Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction.

The truth, as always, will be far stranger.”*

This quote, among other short texts, can be found in the volume “StarPixels” of the award-winning book OUBEY MINDKISS.



In his new large studio with a floor-to-ceiling window front and a wide view of the sky, OUBEY began to work on his star project in March 2004. In this studio, he was no longer only mentally connected to the cosmos and its stars when he worked there at night, but also spatially and optically. At any time, his gaze could wander out through the large window front to the night sky with all its stars visible from earth.

He called them “StarPixels”, and so combined his understanding of the pixel structure shown in his pictures from the pioneering work with the Amiga 500 computer at the end of the 1980s with the recurring star motif in the same format in each picture, and with the creative design process that gives each of these stars its uniqueness. All are similar, but none is like the other. With his engraved signature, OUBEY also gave each of these stars his personal seal of this uniqueness.

After he painted the first twenty-five stars, he assembled them into a cluster on the floor of his studio – a large star image composed of 25 small star images.

The stars and OUBEY seem to attract each other. One or two new stars were added every day. The creative process resembles a self-absorption that is as creative as it is meditative. In a year’s time, he would have reached his goal.

OUBEY had painted 84 stars when he died in a traffic accident on August 2, 2004. Two stars remain unfinished. They show the basic beginning structure of the formation process of each of the stars. What their unique color and structural shape would have come to look like will forever remain their secret.




*From Arthur C. Clarke: 2001 – A Space Odyssey. Based on the screenplay by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. Foreword by A.C.C. and S.K.


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