This work contains my research about Kazimir Malevich’s art and his life.
The exploration began with my intention to lift up the veil of mystery around avant-garde art. Why avant-garde? Because it became a bridge between old academic art and modern art in the form we know it nowadays.
The avant-garde was a turning-point, where people could predict the course of art development. Of course, evolution took time, there were no modern installations and performances right after Malevich.
Some people think that the change of an art thought in 1910-20s was a revolution. In my opinion, there was no revolution in art at all. Art is Evolution. It develops slowly but surely. Why am I convinced about it? There is such thing as theory of art cyclicity by F. I. Schmidt. It says that we can predict future art trends; we can tell it by some points like color, composition, etc.
I can’t say that avant-garde is absolutely unknown for usual people. not art professionals. We know this as an art history phase and we recognize its impact on modern design at the back of our mind. But design is all filled with associations.
If you look at the Black Square, you think of black square. If you see yellow letter M on red, you can occasionally find yourself thinking about food. This is the main difference, avant-garde was not made for mass audience, this art is very personal and intimate for everyone experiencing it.
MALEVICH ON THE WAY TO ART MASTERSHIP
Childhood. Kazimir was born on 23 of February in Kiev. His family was constantly moving so he has visited many different places in Russia and fall in love with Russian nature and folk art. He studied in agricultural college for 2 years and didn’t get any education later. Kazimir didn’t knew about such profession as an artist, but later he said that he was always an artist inside. His nature as an artist has developed with the help of different images. There were 3 things which influenced him – icons in Malevich’s house, one realistic painting that young Kazimir saw at the exhibition and Russian folk art motives – embroidery and painted clay pots. He learned the ABC’s of art at the church, watching painters creating icons and wall paintings.
Rerberg’s school. Malevich’s works in the style of impressionism show him as a talented painter and thoughtful artist. Kazimir grew up, and by that time he had to get money for his family. Combining clerk work with drawing as a hobby, Malevich increased his talent. Then his father died and he became the only working person in the family.
Kazimir has made a difficult decision - he left his wife, child and mother in Kursk and moved in Moscow to study. His teacher Rerberg wasn’t a great artist but true one. He taught him techniques, methods. Nevertheless, Rerberg taught Kazimir to profess freedom.
Here was the point of no return, Malevich knew the impressionism. He realized that the image of the thing on canvas can be different from real one. Malevich realized the pointlessness of art and began to work with this new knowledge.
«Rest. Cylinder society»,1906
Fauvism. When Kazimir Malevich met Larionov, he didn’t know it was a gesture of fate. The difference of their art views has influenced on Malevich’s formation as an artist. Larionov considered art theory as pure evil. Why speechify, when we can just draw? But Malevich used theory, and not only for painting art, but music, poetry, everyting, icluding his own lifestyle.
Larionov and Malevich met in 1911. That time Larionov was leaving impessionism because “If you think you found your style, you’re dead as an artist”.The club “Jack of Diamonds” figured out a new style – Russian fauvism.This group of artists became an analogue of french club “Bridge”: colourful, bright,expressive,explosive.
«Argentinian polka» «Swimmer»
I need to mention that fact that russian fauvism has developed with the help of Gogen's and Cesanne's postimpessionism. It has influenced russian artists strongly.
Painters succeed with these artworks at the exhibition “Youth Union”.Fauvism was a burst of joy, emotions and colours comparing to dull and depressing reality.Fauvism was associated with youth because artists were as young and energetic as their arts. That's why people called Russian fauvism “fresh” art.
Cubism. An artist simplifies human body and makes it just a structure containing triangles and squares.Cubists first came to an idea of making these figures something more significant. That is how cubism was born. It was a new step in art evolution. But what was the purpose of cubism? It was born to shock, ruin academic art and all the previous styles. And it has also made a new slogan “If a painting is shocking, it is definitely worth buying”.
«A head of a peasant woman»
But cubism was not good as a ready-made system for Malevich, so he used it only as a special technique. But he was different even this way – now we can call his cubist works masterpieces, but Kazimir was strictly criticized for it. Cubists consisted upon negligence and non-confirmity with the canon in his artworks.
But Malevich did not aim to become a true cubist. He just passed this technique through his soul and it became another step on his way to mastership. Kazimir understood the philosophy of cubism, but it did not make the space of painting ‘explosive’ enough. And most importantly, it didn't fit with his goal -cubism couldn't make a painting ‘more than a painting’.
We can not define cubofuturism as mix of cubism and futurism. It was supposed to be a transformation of cubism, or maybe just an independent style. Cubofuturism became something special for Malevich because it was the last style which he invented before the great suprematism. His first priority was - to make a painting more that just a painting. It was his life purpose, his reason to create.
One of the special features of cubofuturism is a-logism i.e.(lack of visible link between objects in the painting). A-logism was not just a collection of random objects, it became a new way of interacting with the viewer. Futurist painting is like a tree - no one knows, which branch you'll look at first.
Let’s look at the famous picture ‘A cow and a violin’. It’s called to be a ‘definition of absurd and a-logism' in art.
Apparently, what does cow and violin have in common? Yet Malevich has managed to create a very successful composition.
OPERA «VICTORY OVER THE SUN».
This opera is not only the instrument of Malevich’s artistic expression. It is a synthesis of great music (Matiushkin), strange and extraordinary libretto (Kruchenich), and of course amazing costumes and decorations(Malevich).
«Victory over the sun» expressed intentions, ideas and dreams of people of that time. The opera itself leaves amazing impression of the power and dedication, put into this piece of art.
The plot talks about victory of technologies over the cosmic powers. Isn’t this a great symbol of the avant-garde revolution?. Opera does not provoke as much as shocks by saying: «New art time has come».
It is known that «Victory over the sun» was the last Malevich’s project before inventing suprematism. I can say that it actually became a suitable occasion for him to invent it.
The story of the «Black square» creation is directly connected with this opera. There it is: Malevich was painting decorations for the 2nd act. It was supposed to be a colorful multi-figure composition. But Malevich suddenly got an inspiration to paint just a black square on a white background. He was shocked by his own work to the extend, that he could neither eat nor sleep for several days.
It was a real fever, although he was a healthy strong man. Kazimir Malevich didn't expect such a supreme artwork from himself. He didn't know yet the endless Universe he contained inside his soul…
THE BLACK SQUARE.
There are a lot of varying opinions about this work. Nevertheless, Malevich stays as a mystical creator of the obscure «Black Square» for the mass audience. Most of the people who saw this painting - didn’t actually understand its real meaning.
Evidently, Malevich has become the Horseman of the Art’s Apocalypse - the end of old Art. He was critisized for it by many artists and art critics of his time, such as Tatiana Tolstaya, Udaltsova, Rodchenko and others.
On one hand, «Black Square» - is just a black square. But at the same time - it’s not…This artwork is super dualistic.
It does not depict anything outstanding. But still - its shocking. Someone gets shocked by its format, someone - by the depth of color, or by the depth of the mystic idea.
Malevich has created 4 or 5 copies of the «Black square». But none of them possessed such strong energy, as the first, original.
What does «Black Aquare» represent? Absolute lack of content.. Zero form… Unlimited associations…Just 4 black angles on the white background. Top and bottom of suprematism.
V. Sterligov has written at that time: «Evklid’s square was the metrics of physical measure, Malevich’s square is a metrics of moral.»
«Black square» can be named the «model» of all future suprematic works of Kazimir Malevich. It became fundamental base for his expression of pointlessness. He has found a new way to interact with the viewer. If earlier - perception of the painting was a pure empiricism, then - after Malevich it has became an pure existential dive into unknown.
Earlier, a composition was a totality of objects and forms depicted. Malevich has created a new way of composition, without losing its real purpose - harmonious allocation of objects inside. There is something magic in this painting that changes our relation to art - and art becomes part of our inner self, part of our personal life.
What is the professionals point of the pointlessness theory, how do art specialists understand the «Black square»?
THE THEORY OF POINTLESSNESS.
Basic concepts and assumptions
Genesis of suprematism and the surplus element.
In VitebskMalevich started to teach his theory, his idea of evolution from impressionism to suprematism. Theory was, of course, based on his personal experience. Impressionism blurs an object, cubism splits it in parts, and all of it dissolves into the timeless Square.
Every kind of style was defined by a new element. Malevich has called it «surplus element».
Impressionism has introduced as a «surplus element» the idea of the new colour, we see the painting like it is under the water. Cubism’s new element was the idea of contrast, realized in two forms of composition - straight and spiral one.
What is the new element of suprematism? It was a line and a point on the canvas, born from endlessness and coming back to it.
In his first book «The Black square» Malevich has mentioned, that classic art was «art of wildmen». He said that if we copy nature, we steal it, but stealing and creating are two different things.
Creativity is born through intuition and subconscious. Futurists have found the difference between the old «sensual art» and new «art of perception». But they didn’t go further, because all futurists had always certain objects in their artworks.
Kazimir said that if a person is only interested in classic art, based on the aesthetics and real life expression, this person is not interested in art at all.
Malevich has found painting in its original meaning - just pure colour.
It is believed that he could see contrast and cubism elements in Rafael works. «There is no Madonna on the painting, because there are no Madonnas on canvases. Madonna is in heaven, a pot - is on the earth. There are only lines and colors.»
Death and worldwide significance of the great artist.
Kazimir Malevich died on the 15th of May 1935, because of pancreas cancer. His body was placed in a «suprematic coffin» made in a shape of cross. In Moscow he was cremated and the remains were placed under the Nemchinka oaktree. There is a picture of the black square on his grave.
It is hard to overestimate the contribution that Malevich has brought into the art world. He is treated as greatly as Kandinsky, Kupka, Mondrian and he is also recognized as one of the abstractionism and pointlessness art founders. Malevich has influenced a lot of young artists, he has become a precursor of minimalism and conceptualism.
Famous «Black Square» was suddenly stolen and was found in Samara in 1993. He was bought by Incombank for 250 000 dollars. In april of 2002 Vladimir Potanin re-bought this painting and gave it back to Hermitage. 3 ноября 2008 года
The «Suprematic composition» (1916) by Malevich was sold by Sotheby's for record 60 million dollars.
K. Buksha «Malevich»