Following in path of Black Square
Great Supremacist Kazimir Malevich’s genetic roots to Belarus announced at Minsk’s Pushkin Regional Library, at launch of exhibition honouring the 135th anniversary of his birth
By Alla Narovskaya
Belarusian artists’ interest in Kazimir Malevich and his creativity began in Vitebsk in 1919, when he arrived to lecture at the local People’s Art School. He changed the very nature of the school itself, the city’s educational system and cultural life; many would say that he transformed art worldwide. On arrival, he had already formed his Suprematic ideas: in theory and concept. However, they needed a new environment for further development and the city became that venue. Those with an open mind were able to view Suprematism as an integral part of the universe. They united under the association UNOVIS (Affirmers of New Art), pushing traditional limits.
The present exhibition — organised by the MASTER International Public Association of Painters and Art Critics and the Belarusian Union of Designers — aims to cherish the memory of Kazimir Malevich and re-consider his artistry. Suprematic style posters adorn the walls; painted by Belarusian designers, devoted to UNOVIS, Malevich and his follower, El Lissitzky. Malevich invented ‘Suprematism’ in the early 20th century: abstract compositions of geometric shapes — often in red, white and black. Posters by S. Sarkisov, Y. Tareev and R. Naidenov are on show, alongside A. Mikhalevich’s Transformation of K. Malevich’s Square into A. Mikhalevich’s Stool. The work won the ‘Objects’ prize at Postulat-2012, organised by the Belarusian Union of Designers.
Sergey and Evelina Krishtapovich’s works particularly stand out, having a different style but a similar aesthetic and use of form. Sergey prefers a laconic approach, encouraging realistic reflection, while Evelina fully expresses the well-known ideas of Suprematism. The show revolves around Evelina’s portrait of Malevich and her Music of Suprematism diptych, as well as Sergey’s Red Square; the pictures are placed on opposite walls.
Kazimir Malevich often said: ‘music aims at silence’ and ‘a picture must be seen and heard’. These ideas perfectly describe Evelina’s diptych, which seems to portray music via images. Sergey’s aesthetic tradition has been avant-garde since the early 1970s — when he was three times excluded from art college (at the age of 16) for his radical works. His geometric minimalism is worthy of his great teacher, Malevich. Sergey’s Cross of Fate shows a red square against a white background, with the cross-like figure of a bird flying, symbolising Fate, the universe and man. “In our 21st century world, we need to look beyond Malevich’s universe, creating a new Suprematism,” he asserts.
The Minsk show launches a large project, which the MASTER Association plans to realise over the coming two years.