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This is the actual painting I saw at the pompidou by Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935)

an excerpt from the artist about the painitng (if anyone is interested.)

"[sic] in the year 1913, in my desperate attempt to free art from the ballast of objectivity, I took refuge in the square form and exhibited a picture which consisted of nothing more than a black square on a white field, the critics and, along with them, the public sighed, "Everything which we loved is lost. We are in a desert .... Before us is nothing but a black square on a white background!"

"Withering" words were sought to drive off the symbol of the "desert" so that one might behold on the "dead square" the beloved likeness of "reality" ("true objectivity" and a spiritual feeling).

The square seemed incomprehensible and dangerous to the critics and the public ... and this, of course, was to be expected.

The ascent to the heights of nonobjective art is arduous and painful ... but it is nevertheless rewarding. The familiar recedes ever further and further into the background .... The contours of the objective world fade more and more and so it goes, step by step, until finally the world "everything we loved and by which we have lived" becomes lost to sight.

No more "likenesses of reality," no idealistic images nothing but a desert!

But this desert is filled with the spirit of nonobjective sensation which pervades everything.

Even I was gripped by a kind of timidity bordering on fear when it came to leaving "the world of will and idea," in which I had lived and worked and in the reality of which I had believed.

But a blissful sense of liberating nonobjectivity drew me forth into the "desert," where nothing is real except feeling . . . and so feeling became the substance of my life.

This was no "empty square" which I had exhibited but rather the feeling of nonobjectivity.

I realized that the "thing" and the "concept" were substituted for feeling and understood the falsity of the world of will and idea.

Is a milk bottle, then, the symbol of milk?

Suprematism is the rediscovery of pure art which, in the course of time, had become obscured by the accumulation of "things."

It appears to me that, for the critics and the public, the painting of Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt, etc., has become nothing more than a conglomeration of countless "things," which conceal its true value the feeling which gave rise to it. The virtuosity of the objective representation is the only thing admired.

If it were possible to extract from the works of the great masters the feeling expressed in them the actual artistic value, that is and to hide this away, the public, along with the critics and the art scholars, would never even miss it.

So it is not at all strange that my square seemed empty to the public.

If one insists on judging an art work on the basis of the virtuosity of the objective representation the verisimilitude of the illusion and thinks he sees in the objective representation itself a symbol of the inducing emotion, he will never partake of the gladdening content of a work of art.

The general public is still convinced today that art is bound to perish if it gives up the imitation of "dearly loved reality" and so it observes with dismay how the hated element of pure feeling abstraction makes more and more headway ....

Art no longer cares to serve the state and religion, it no longer wishes to illustrate the history of manners, it wants to have nothing further to do with the object, as such, and believes that it can exist, in and for itself, without "things" (that is, the "time tested well spring of life").

But the nature and meaning of artistic creation continue to be misunderstood, as does the nature of creative work in general, because feeling, after all, is always and everywhere the one and only source of every creation.

The emotions which are kindled in the human being are stronger than the human being himself... they must at all costs find an outlet they must take on overt form they must be communicated or put to work.

It was nothing other than a yearning for speed ... for flight ... which, seeking an outward shape, brought about the birth of the airplane. For the airplane was not contrived in order to carry business letters from Berlin to Moscow, but rather in obedience to the irresistible drive of this yearning for speed to take on external form.

The "hungry stomach" and the intellect which serves this must always have the last word, of course, when it comes to determining the origin and purpose of existing values ... but that is a subject in itself.

And the state of affairs is exactly the same in art as in creative technology .... In painting (I mean here, naturally, the accepted "artistic" painting) one can discover behind a technically correct portrait of Mr. Miller or an ingenious representation of the flower girl at Potsdamer Platz not a trace of the true essence of art no evidence whatever of feeling. Painting is the dictatorship of a method of representation, the purpose of which is to depict Mr. Miller, his environment, and his ideas.

The black square on the white field was the first form in which nonobjective feeling came to be expressed. The square = feeling, the white field = the void beyond this feeling.

Yet the general public saw in the nonobjectivity of the representation the demise of art and failed to grasp the evident fact that feeling had here assumed external form.

The Suprematist square and the forms proceeding out of it can be likened to the primitive marks (symbols) of aboriginal man which represented, in their combinations, not ornament but a feeling of rhythm.

Suprematism did not bring into being a new world of feeling but, rather, an altogether new and direct form of representation of the world of feeling.

The square changes and creates new forms, the elements of which can be classified in one way or another depending upon the feeling which gave rise to them..."


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
How did he do the field behind the square? White ink?
Dec. 19th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
yep, white ink. it's hard to see becasue it was kinda bloody at the time. i'll try to take another picture once it heals. The white ink will fade overtime but I don't care. I'm actually really likeing how subtle the white is, you kinda have to look closer to see it. I'm diggin' it.
Dec. 19th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
my white ink has stayed pretty well, although i only have words in white, but they've stuck pretty well :-)
Dec. 19th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
right on.
yeah, hopefully mine will be white for a few years. :)
Dec. 19th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
It's very subtle and I like it alot. IMHO - It'll be worth getting it touched up every so often for the look.
Dec. 19th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
yeah I plan to as needed although he said I can't just keep touching it up over and over and over again(as if I had the money to do that) as I get older it will fade/turn yellowish but I'm cool with that.
Dec. 20th, 2006 10:11 am (UTC)
That's quite a beacon you're carrying now, Mir. Reading Malevich's statement was helpful to me, in understanding (as best I can) his intent and yours as well.

It was nothing other than a yearning for speed ... for flight ... which, seeking an outward shape, brought about the birth of the airplane. For the airplane was not contrived in order to carry business letters from Berlin to Moscow, but rather in obedience to the irresistible drive of this yearning for speed to take on external form.

I'm quite sure Santos Dumont and the Wright brothers would have agreed with Malevich! His desire to make art which suggests to the beholder a basic or instinctual feeling is both ambitious and fascinating.

For me, the black square is much more interesting as a reflective device than is a mirror. So, will you now make a point of wearing tops which have a fairly-severe scoop?

Dec. 20th, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Well...!
hahaha. I might have to to show it off once it stops looking icky. Well more like in the spring I'll have to wear my hair up and low backed shirts. :)

Yes I found the artists perspective interesting. I didn't read it until the other day and I saw the painting two years ago. Yet when I saw the painting I didn't really need the interpritation. When I saw it I did feel something I got really intregued...I couldn't stop looking. I was very inspird. After all the paintings I had seen, of all these different objects worthy of art I couldn't stop staing at this black square on white background. It made me smile. It was so simple. It isn't trying to be anything but exactily what it is and it's honest. That's why I heart modern art And as soon as I got home from the museum, well from Paris actually I had to find the painting and it's been my Lj icon and one of my favorites ever since. It took me four years to just find something worthy of a tattoo (the expence, the pain and the permanence) and once I found the painting it's taken me tow years to actually get it. I'm so pleased to have it now
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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