SUPREMATISM
The name given by Malevitch to the geometrical abstractionism he derived from Cubism in 1913. The elements of Suprematism were the rectangle, the circle, the triangle and the cross. Although the first public appearance of Suprematism took place in 1913, when Malevitch exhibited his perfect square, black on a white background, the manifesto of the movement was not published until 1915. It was drawn up with the assistance of the Russian poet Maiakovski and other avantgarde writers. Almost simultaneously Tatlin originated the Constructivist movement and Rodchenko Non-Objectivism, both closely related to Suprematism. Later (about 1920) Constructivism was revived when Gabo and Pevsner published the Realist Manifesto in Moscow. When modern movements were banished by the Russian authorities, Gabo left Moscow for Berlin, and Pevsner for Paris. However, it was chiefly through the activity of the painter and draughtsman El Lissitzky that Constructivist and Suprematist ideas were introduced (starting in 1922) into Germany, where, in Bauhaus circles, they encountered the Neo-Plastic current brought from Holland by Van Doesburg during the same period. The Neo-Plasticism of Mondrian was plastically more reasoned and consequently more dogmatic than Suprematism. While Neo-Plasticism has more deeply affected the art of our time, it is Malevitch that must be given credit for having gone the farthest in the shortest time, by leaping from Cubism to Suprematism in the space of a few months, starting anew on an entirely different and quite simple basis: the black square on a white background.
All painting that takes as its groundwork exact geometrical forms, without any attempt at representation, necessarily descends, therefore, from Malevitch and the Suprematism of 1913. The movement may have appeared futile at that time, but from it has emerged a whole new sphere of art that is far from being exhausted today.
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