Supremacist movement survives till jubilee

Vitebsk city celebrates the 100th anniversary of Kazimir Malevich’s famous picture Black Square
The Vitebsk Regional History Museum has arranged an exhibition of paintings, art objects and installations of the members of Vitebsk’s Kvadrat Arts Union, as well as suprematists from Minsk.

The exhibition includes 36 works made in various techniques: acrylic on canvas, oil on plywood, objects made from textiles, plastic and polyurethane foam, alongside examples of figurative suprematism. The organisers have put together exhibits with a twenty-year history, and those that have been created this year. They are all built around the theme of ‘black square’, and many of the artworks are a dedication to Kazimir Malevich.

As a decorative element, the black square placed against the sun appeared for the first time on scenery designs for the futurist opera Victory over the Sun in 1913. According to Malevich’s idea, the square covered the Sun, while the white edging symbolised breaking sunbeams. The depiction of the black square on paper appeared two years later when during work on illustrations for a brochure about the futurist opera Malevich covered abstract figures with paint and drew the black square above them. In this way, a new art movement appeared — Suprematism.

In 1919, Malevich arrived in Vitebsk to teach at the People’s Art School, run by Marc Chagall. Here, the ideas of Suprematism, theoretically and conceptually developed by Malevich by this time, were studied further.
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