Malevich’s Suprematism


The paintings of colorful rectangles that you see in this post are works by the early-20th century Russian painter Kazimir Malevich.  The movement known as Suprematism began in 1915 with a manifesto penned by Malevich entitled From Cubism to Suprematism.  And what is the movement’s intention exactly? I will allow Mr. Malevich to explain:  Under Suprematism I understand the primacy of pure feeling in creative art. To the Suprematist, the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling, as such, quite apart from the environment in which it is called forth.


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Using geometric forms and avoiding any signifying titles Mr. Malevich sought to communicate the pure feeling of things and in doing so created something completely new that succeeds in evoking feelings in the viewer.  His suprematist pieces come alive with movement and color to become symphonies of fragmentation, studied abstractions of everyday things that remain elusive in their new configurations on the canvas.  They are all fascinating paintings that utilize the mathematically certain shapes that are at the foundation of physical reality to depict objects that cannot possibly be determined by the composition of the pieces.  In Suprematism abstraction serve to deny any certainty of the physical world while championing the reality that we are still affected by the physical world around us.  It was a truly brilliant conception by a man living under a repressive system to use the most basic, most acceptable forms as a way to express feelings that he most likely could not in his social life without dire repercussions.

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