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KAZIMIR MALEVICH - REFERENCE PAGE

1. QUOTATIONS

Robert Hughes. Modernism's Russian front: the birth of abstraction is illuminated in the energetic work of two compatriots. (Liubov Popova, Kazimir Malevich). Text
One should think of Malevich as an iconmaker. He did. He was a very Russian Russian, a kind of starets, or holy man, filled with chiliastic dreams of the future of art, with an eye for promotion and a remarkable ability to get under the skin of other artists. His decisiveness was amazing.
However cloudy Malevich's voluble theories are, his Suprematist paintings are as decisive as razors: those forceful, exquisite arrangements of planes, asserting their aesthetic self-sufficiency on a white ground have an almost heroic daring, which he would push still further in the plain black crosses and black squares of the '20s.
His last picture, from 1933, is a realist self-portrait in which the primary colors of Suprematism are shifted into the panels of the costume he wears. He looks like Christopher Columbus, as well he might.
All the same, Popova's talents as a painter could hardly have grown as fast and as confidently as they did without the security of her liberal, upper-middle-class background, the way of life the revolution mercilessly crushed.
A gifted colorist, she wanted to explore what illusions of visual depth and energy a flat surface could contain. One sees this ambition unfolding phase by phase with a steadfast, though unprogrammed, logic.
But generally the keel of feeling is even, the track straight as an arrow. Here was a determined young painter following her nose, with a passionate sense of the edge where formal research bursts into sparks and arpeggios of lyric feeling.
 RICHARD M. PRICE. Kazimir Malevich and the Art of Geometry. - The British Journal of Aesthetics, Oct 1998 p429(1) Text
(The Black Square) // its surface soon deteriorated and is now a criss-cross of irregular white lines (a particularly ironic fate for picture intended to be the last word in stark simplicity), but it was always the concept of the painting, not its execution, that mattered.
Roslavets and Malevich, with a readiness to propitiate the ogre that spelt spiritual death, immediately adopted more conservative styles; but their `conversion' was too late, and both were eclipsed and discredited.
The current surge of scholarly and public interest in Malevich has been assisted by the fall of communism but is justified by the sheer quality of much of his work.
The insistence by many Russian futurists on the laws of mathematics, plus the alliance with communist tyranny, invited the satire of Zamyatin, who in We drew a horrifying picture of a society where everything and everyone is reduced to numbers. But Malevich used geometric regularity not as an iron law that was not to be broken but as a norm that gave meaning to its infringement.
Such paintings belong neither to the self-advertising experimentalism of some Russian modernists nor to the insistence of the party ideologues on the application to the arts of the laws of scientific materialism.
Charlotte Douglas. Suprematist embroidered ornament. Art Journal, Spring 1995 v54 n1 p42(4) - text
We know that Malevich had been seeking broad application of his new style since the previous spring, so it is possible that Suprematist works first appeared in public not as paintings, but as needlework or sketches for needlework in the Modern Decorative Art exhibition.
The mythic energy unleashed by Malevich's Suprematism was especially strong when it was applied to decoration.
Like the cosmic and spiritual associations of folk motifs, Suprematist forms on fabric carried a meaningful element. Just as in the paintings, the colored rectangles were meant to indicate an advanced consciousness of the universe or to be emblematic of an unseen world. Not only did the Suprematists aspire to make completely objectless painting, but they also immediately decided to remake the entire visual world in the Suprematist mode, an idea that after the Bolshevik revolution would acquire political significance.
Arthur C. Danto Supreme being in Russia. (Suprematist art movement in 1915 Russia) - The Nation, April 8, 1991 v252 n13 p452(5) - text
Suprematism, beyond which, accordingly, nothing could be imagined that was art. Something beyond art, however, and higher than art--for which what we might call "suprematizing" was the way and the means--could be imagined.
I take it that they were meant as more than abstract illustrations of a spiritual condition, however. They were meant to be liberating for the viewer, who was, through them, to find a way into those very spaces, to float, in effect, among other forms. So it was, beyond a system of artistic practice, to be understood as a system of spiritual exercises.
It is, I think, exceedingly difficult for a viewer of today to see these often gaily colored showers of form, distributed like confetti across white canvases, pleasing to the eye and to the sense of design, as being dense with the kinds of meanings and means to the states of awakened spirituality that Malevich expected them to be.
And this history inevitably mutes their energy, and diffuses it, as we view them through the subsequent evolution of abstraction as an artistic commonplace.
Because Suprematisms are almost always handsome and bright, they suffer the sort of dilemma a particularly beautiful man or woman must who really wants to be taken seriously as a thinker.
Icons and Suprematisms express the same order of immanence, and if indeed there is a passion for formal purity, this is but a transformed and deflected passion for purity of a different order altogether.
Noemi Smolik. KASIMIR MALEVICH. Oct, 2000- KUNSTHALLE BIELEFELD. text
He also painted colorful, seemingly lighthearted pictures that mimic the styles of the Impressionists, Cezanne, and Matisse. Many of these had until now been considered part of his early work. Some are cheerful, others grotesque, as though they were parodies of these various modem "isms" Why not? After all, Malevich's belief in the representational value of images, the goal of all these artistic movements, had been fundamentally shaken since the Suprematist Mirrors.
Couldn't it be that Malevich, who in his oeuvre deals with the conflict between icons and images-as-representations, felt a kinship with the artists of that era of transition? It was they who bade farewell to the Western equivalent of icons and replaced them with mimetic images.
Jacqueline Millner. White on White -  text
http://www.perform.utas.edu.au/gallery/when_is_art/essay_Jacqueline_Millner.html
Malevich sought 'to reduce everything to zero and then go beyond the zero', evoking a utopia where there would be no distinction between art and life, where everyone would be an artist. By paring back art to its minimal conditions, Malevich proposes that there could be a society that eliminates the necessity for framing art. In this conjunction of art and politics, the monochrome becomes the archetypal avant-garde gesture, to be repeated throughout the rest of the century, where art comes to an end so as to be born again in new social relationships.
With Black Quadrilateral, Malevich forged a new spatial paradigm where the flat surface replaced volume, depth and perspective. Like the universe, the black square would stretch infinitely in every direction, were it not for the frame.
Tony Wood. The man they couldn't hang. Guardian. Thursday May 11, 2000 - Text
At this time it was becoming increasingly difficult for Russian avant-garde artists to work freely, and Malevich used the trip to investigate the possibility of emigrating. In April he went to the Bauhaus in Dessau to try to get a teaching post, but his German wasn't up to scratch and Walter Gropius, the director of the school, eventually had to refuse. Disappointed, Malevich left Germany on June 6, almost four months before the Berlin exhibition was due to finish, and left his works in the care of his friend Hugo Hдring.
Tony Wood. The man they couldn't hang. Guardian. Thursday May 11, 2000 - Text
At this time it was becoming increasingly difficult for Russian avant-garde artists to work freely, and Malevich used the trip to investigate the possibility of emigrating. In April he went to the Bauhaus in Dessau to try to get a teaching post, but his German wasn't up to scratch and Walter Gropius, the director of the school, eventually had to refuse. Disappointed, Malevich left Germany on June 6, almost four months before the Berlin exhibition was due to finish, and left his works in the care of his friend Hugo Hдring.