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A Short Guide to Malevich and Suprematism
A closer look 04 Feb 2015

A Short Guide to Malevich and Suprematism

Suprematism is an artistic movement born in Russa during the begining of the 20th century. Based on geometry, primary colors and abstraction, Kazimir Malevich is the founder of Suprematism. The term is coined because the artist is focused on purity of shapes and supreme form.

What is abstraction?

Abstraction is a plastic proposal chose by the artists and is detached from any mark. The language is extremely simplified. Malevich’s abstraction is driven by ideology and mathematics.

He gets inspiration in different artistique movements

Malevich, a Russian painter wrote a manuscript called “Suprematism or the non-objective world”. His work is prolific. His first paintings are influenced by Impressionism. After that, we will be deeply impregnated by abstraction, geometrical shapes, the square especially.

Malevich incorporates the first avant-gardes, fauvism for example : colors create the shapes. (The Bather, 1910).


cubism : deconstruction Composition with Mona Lisa


and italian futurism with dynamism : Woman with a bucket 1912


Stairway to success

In 1912-1913, Malevich creates cubo-futurism with the Remouleur. He recycles the defragmented strategies of cubism and movement of futurism. The rémouleur is identified sharpening his knife. In 1913, he achieves settings and decorations for the opera Victory over the sun. His black square appears for the first time, it will stay the symbol of this movement.

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In 1915, his abstract paintings are exhibited for the first time at the  “Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10” in Petrograd. The black square is hung in a corner of the room like a sacred orthodox icon.



Art for everyone

Painting is free from object and any reference. Malevich offers a plastic solution without the object to make art, his art, accessible to all. He wants to create a language without any link to reality and that is what he calls suprematism.

Each viewer can interpret in his way, there is no superfluity, and art is read by everyone and not only reserved to the elite.

Malevich’ artistic revolution is indissociable from the soviet political situation: the Bolshevik revolution.

Colors are important in suprematism, the background is white, black is reserved to the square, and primary colors to the other shapes. He aspires to find an ideal balance between them.


Airplane flying, 1914-1915

In 1917, when he brings us White on White, it is a fundamental break but not a monochrome. Malevich works on quality of painting taking it to degree zero.


Constructivism develops at the same time. El Lissinsky, Rodtchenko or Taline are found to be part of this movement destined to maked art accessible to all. The most successful achievement is the monument for Vladimir Tatline’s IIIrd Internationale in 1919. This monumental project should have been erected in Petrogad but was never finished. A symbol of modernity, it would have housed the administrative centers of soviet propaganda.


More Suprematism


Red square, 1915


Black cross, 1915


Composition, 1916-1917


Composition, 1916