SUPREMATISM in definitions, meaning, art and Russian artist Malevich
characteristics of the Suprematist art style & the manifesto of founder Malevich
Suprematism, the Russian modern art movement started circa 1915/16 by founding artist Malevich. Suprematism was a more subtle art variation of Russian Constructivism. Suprematist artists were using paint instead of the modern materials and constructions of steel, cement and glass by Constructivists. Suprematism’s main meaning was to express ‘pure experiences of daily life in modern times’ – for instance in the airplane – as Malevich explained in his manifesto. Composition played an important role in Suprematism
The selected art quotes on art movement Suprematism are produced by the Dutch artist / art critic Jacob Bendien (1890 – 1933); they are taken from his artbook “Trends in the Present Day Art of Painting”, published by W.L & J. Brusse N.V. – Rotterdam 1936, after his death; – the editor.
‘Krasnodar & Golden rectangle’, Malevich 1917
SUPREMATISM, the Russian Suprematist art movement in style characteristics, history facts and meaning
- Malewitsch (from now on written as Malevich, ed.) says…’It is the experience of the speed of a plane, which was looking for an expression, a form and this caused the plane to come into existence. The plane was not built to take letters from Berlin to Moscow, but to give expression to the irresistible urge to create a form for the experience of speed’.
- According to Suprematists art is not only dependent on the nature of the artist, but also on the sort of environment from which it is produced. For instance: Cézanne from a small provincial town, the Cubists and Futurists from worldly cities and industry, and the Suprematists – planes/aviation.
- The basics of Suprematism are not very varied, but in practice aeronautics has a rich arsenal of symbolic motifs. Also, the Suprematists did not always strictly adhere to these motifs, which actually inspire more than they limit.
- Although their compositions form an organic whole, their figures seem to float in space without a constructive connection to the three dimensional space, (suggested by the painted plane). In the same way that unfounded ideas float about in our consciousness with great conviction, but still influence and feed one another. Even simple general religious feelings are portrayed.
- As opposed to many other Russian Constructivists, Suprematists do recognize l’art pour l’art and resist any other aim. The Suprematists are the poets of Constructivism. They are not blinded by rationalization like many of the Russian Constructivists. They are more closely related to the softer and more tender Constructivist Moholy Nagy.
- Typical for the difference between both art movements is that Malevich wrote a book entitled ‘Gegenstandlose Welt’ (World without objects / things ed.). Whilst Lissistky specifically mentioned Gegenstand in the magazine he published with Ehrenburg.
- Even so, the Suprematists were no less influenced by modern technology. Not so much cars and factories, but especially air-travel. Malevich states in his ‘Gegenstandlose Welt’ nr. 11 of the Bauhausbucher, that one could call the Suprematists aeronautic.
- Why this very limited preference for aviation? We should view this not as a fascination for aviation itself, but rather for the feelings it evokes, such as speed.
- The areas of practicality and art are, according to Suprematists, totally separate in the human mind. However, they generally came together until the 20th century. Thus, in their opinion the artistic feeling did not come into its eternal right, but was obstructed by the presumption of temporality.
- The Suprematists want, where possible, to give feelings / emotion absolute supremacy. Even objects such as tables, chairs and beds are, according to Malevich, ‘not objects but the form of plastic perceptions… …The experience of sitting, standing or walking are, in the first place plastic experiences’.
- Suprematists do not want to sit, sleep or live in the way their bodies dictate, but according to their spiritual needs. They want to free not only art, but architecture from all social and materialistic tendencies. As far as art is concerned their ideal is achievable and is in fact realized. However, in architecture usefulness is a factor that can never be handled as a secondary circumstance.
- Another question is whether all secondary circumstances, such as excluding social tendencies from art, is a good thing. Very often this is a necessary part of the inspiration of the artist, thus the ‘art’ value is not decreased but rather increased. Even if one recognizes l’art pour l’art, it does not mean that one is against this tendency in art. The main point is and remains; the intensity of the art value.
We hope you enjoyed
taken from Jacob Bendien
ART LINKS, for more information about Russian Suprematism art movement