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Monday, March 30, 2015


Suprematism was preceded by cubism, the Big Bang of abstract art. While never pure abstract art, Picasso's creation of cubism, around 1910, inspired other artists to take the visual arts to cubism's ultimate consequence: pure abstract art. Once Picasso had opened the door to abstract art, it's remarkable how quickly artists like Mondrian and Malevich found their way to pure abstract art in the form of geometric abstraction. With geometric abstraction we mean art in which nature's realism (actual objects as seen in the real world) is replaced by geometric shapes like squares, circles and triangles. During a time in which people were beginning to feel the effects of secularization and the spiritual void this non-religious modernism left behind, artists were looking for a higher world than the tangible and sought to replace artistic realism with a style that was meant to be more universal and spiritual. Initially independently, this led Mondrian and Malevich to their geometric abstraction. THE SQUARE
 Malevich said about this painting It was not an empty square: It was full of the absence of any object; it was pregnant with meaning Malevich's version of geometric abstraction is called suprematism, which he developed between 1913 and 1915. To Malevich the square was 'the zero of form' and his 'Black Square' painting shocked his contempories. In a leaflet called 'From cubism and futurism to suprematism', written for a 1915 exhibition in St. Petersburg, Malevich said: Only when the habit of one's consciousness to see in paintings bits of nature, madonnas and shameless nudes has disappeared, shall we see a pure-painting composition. Art is moving towards its self-appointed end of creation to the domination of the forms of nature. 'I felt only night within me and it was then that I conceived the new art,
which I called Suprematism'. Malevich also ascribed the birth of Suprematism to Victory Over the Sun, Kruchenykh's Futurist opera production for which he designed the sets and costumes in 1913. One of the drawings for the backcloth shows a black square divided diagonally into a black and a white triangle. Because of the simplicity of these basic forms they were able to signify a new beginning. He created a Suprematist 'grammar' based on fundamental geometric forms; the square and the circle. In the 0.10 Exhibition in 1915, Malevich exhibited his early experiments in Suprematist painting. The centrepiece of his show was the Black square on white, placed in what is called the red/beautiful corner in Russian Orthodox tradition ; the place of the main icon in a house. White on white It was mean to convey Something like the final Emancipation: a state of Nirvana, the ultimate Statement of suprematist consciousness. The square Shades its materiality and Merges with infinity. A faint Vestige of its presence is All that remains.