Black Square Interpretations


Black Square Trailers: The Malevich Effect Black Square Trailers: The Malevich Effect: The pieces are generated from movie trailers. Their configuration within the confines of the "Black Square" move them in the direction of Suprematism with a kinetic component that incorporates the sound track.


Black Square Unmasked Black Square Unmasked: To unmask "Black Square" is to remove this equalizer of all art movements, to reveal such (art movements) as insignificant in the mind of Malevich on behalf of Suprematism.


Bourgeois Black Square Bourgeois Black Square: The Stalinist regime that turned against forms of abstraction, considering them a type of "bourgeois" art that could not express social realities. Malevich's "Black Square" was considered as such.


Beyond Black Square Beyond Black Square: Moving Malevich's "Black Square" beyond - particularly in kinetic form - compounds the feeling of non-objectivity. The "Black Square" becomes the void in piecemeal fashion releasing those emotions that he refers to as being "kindled in the human being" to a higher degree.


Black Square Rotation Black Circle Black Square Rotation Black Circle: The evolution from one geometric form to another - square to circle - via kinetics (movement) is in keeping with Malevich's description of the artworks as "new icons for the aesthetics of modern art" within the art movement, Suprematism.


Red Sweep Black Square Red Sweep Black Square: Malevich's "Black Square" and "Red Square", were exhibited in 1915. The sweeping of the color red acknowledges "Red Square" as a Suprematist figure, but there is always a return to the true icon, "Black Square" for Suprematism.


Black Square Merge: Nature Black Square Merge: Nature: Photographs of nature are merged with the "Black Square" to create a zone of Suprematism via the pixel(s). This pixelized zone results in a loss of color (variations of gray including achromatic grayscale shades, which lie between black and white colors).


Black Square Cross Revolution Black Square Cross Revolution: A video/installation piece that contrasts the Suprematist works of Kazimir Malevich with the Russian Revolution of 1917. Public domain video is merged with "Black Square" and a cross configuration to simulate Malevich's "Black Cross".


Black Square Desecration Black Square Desecration: Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" (1915) receives glitch treatment - perceived as "desecration" - and perhaps embraced by this Suprematist if he were alive today. Suprematism is based upon "the supremacy of pure artistic feeling" (sensation).


Exhibitions/Screenings:

1) Black Square Desecration (Black Square Interpretations), Experimental Animation and Video Art Program, LINOLEUM International Contemporary Animation and Media-Art Festival, Ukraine, September 28 - October 1, 2017.

2) Beyond Black Square (Black Square Interpretations), Digital Art Community (DAC), SIGGRAPH 2017, Los Angeles, California, July 30 - August 3, 2017.

3) Red Sweep Black Square (Black Square Interpretations), Suprematism Infinity: Reflections, Interpretations, Explorations (group show), Atrium Gallery, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York City, New York, U.S.A., December 1, 2015 - January 22, 2016 (pdf). Click on SIRIE to view photographs (by Cho Eun-mi) of the opening. Note: this work was donated to the Russian American Cultural Center (RACC) Art Collection, New York City (letter).

Note: this exhibition is in conjunction with the "100 Years of Suprematism" conference, Shapiro Center, Columbia University, New York City, December 11 - 12, 2015. It is organized in celebration of the centenary of Kazimir Malevich’s invention of Suprematism and the first public display of his Suprematist paintings in December, 1915. The two-day conference is organized in association with the Harriman Institute, the Lazar Khidekel Society, and SHERA. It features presentations by an international and renowned group of scholars. Among them are leading researchers in the field from the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The event includes a presentation of "Kazimir Malevich: Letters and Documents, Memoirs and Criticism" (London: Tate, 2015) (pdf) (http://tomrchambers.com/Malevich Society.htm).

4) Black Square Interpretations, Post Scriptum 100 + 8 (group show), One Month Gallery (OMG), Moscow, Russia, June 8 - July 8, 2015 (Tom R. Chambers comes together with seven Russian artists in Moscow to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Suprematism [1915-2015]. Click on interview to read Chambers' exchange with the curators of OMG.).

5) Black Square Interpretations and Other Suprematist Explorations (two-person show with Max Semakov), CaviArt Gallery, Russian Cultural Center, Houston, Texas, March 6 - April 7, 2015 (Much of the work above - along with the work of Max Semakov - Tom R. Chambers and Max Semakov/MiMs Art Group come together to pay tribute to Kazimir Malevich through a series of artworks that interpret his "Black Square", and explore Suprematism. Chambers is based in Houston, Texas, and Semakov is based in Moscow, Russia, which moves this collaboration to a higher plane of exchange between the citizenry of two countries – America and Russia. Chambers and Semakov through their interpretations and explorations move Suprematism in the direction of Neo-Suprematism. Their artworks accentuate and cultivate non-objectivity - the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art. Click on BSIOSE to view photographs (by Cho Eun-mi) of the opening.


"Black Square" (courtesy of russianpaintings.net)

The "Black Square" of Kazimir Malevich is one of the most famous creations of Russian art in the last century. The first "Black Square" was painted in 1915 to become the turning point in the development of Russian avant-garde.

"Black Square" against white background became the symbol, the basic element in the system of the art of Suprematism, the step into the new art. The artist himself created several variants of the "Black Square". All four Squares painted by Malevich from 1915 to the early 1930s developed the same idea. Different are not only the sequence and year of creation, but also the color, design and texture. Malevich turned back to the "Black Square" every time he needed to present his work in an assertive and significant way, often in connection with the most important exhibitions. However he always created a new version rather than copied the previous one.

Malevich for the first time showed his "Black Square" (now at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow) at the "Last Futurist Exhibition 0.10" in Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) in 1915. A black square put against the sun appeared for the first time in the 1913 scenery designs for the Futurist opera "Victory over the Sun".

The second "Black Square" was painted about 1923 with Kazimir Malevich's participation by his closest disciples, Anna Leporskaya, Konstantin Rozhdestvensky and Nikolay Suyetin, for a triptych which also included "Black Cross" and "Black Circle" (now at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg). Being one of the elementary forms, the square as a part of the triptych was no longer unique. Since the triptych embodied the idea of collective work which was of great importance to Malevich, it is not as important by who exactly the idea was realized.

Some believe that the third "Black Square" (Tretyakov Gallery) was painted in 1929 for Malevich's one-man show, following request of Aleksey Fedorov-Davydov, Assistant Director of the Gallery, because of the poor condition of the 1915 "Black Square". It was different from the first one, as Malevich's life and work were different compared to 1915.

One more "Black Square", smallest and probably latest, touches upon the motif of red and black which was important to Malevich. It may have been intended to make a diptych with the "Red Square", though of smaller size, probably for the exhibition "Artists of the RSFSR: 15 Years", held in Leningrad in 1932 which was to become the last important venue in the history of the Russian avant-garde. The "Black Square" and "Red Square" were the centerpiece of Malevich's exhibition in the show. This "Black Square" may have been a recapitulation when the artist worn by struggle and infirmity reproduced his "Victory over the Sun" at a new stage. The last "Black Square", despite the author's note "1913" on the reverse, is believed to have been created in the late 1920s or early 1930s, for there are no earlier mentions of it. It was one of the few of Malevich's paintings which were not handed over by the artist's heirs to the Russian Museum, but were kept by his family. As legend goes, it was carried behind Malevich's coffin on the day when he was buried. When the artist's widow Natalya Andreyevna Manchenko died, the last variant of the "Black Square" along with Malevich's self-portrait and wife's portrait passed to her relatives who later sold them to Incombank.

After the 1998 crisis this collection except the "Black Square" was offered for sale. The Culture Ministry of the Russian Federation used its privilege to buy this precious work of art with the financial assistance of Vladimir Potanin, President of Interros Holding, and hand it over to the State Hermitage Museum.


Suprematism by Kazimir Malevich


Click on poster below to view/download larger version: