Whose Malevich? Why Malevich?
Memoriart33-45 Association, Bern (CH)
Just half a century ago, Malevich’s name was familiar to very few people. On a wave of international interest to the avant-garde, he became a world-famous artist. Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935) was born into a Polish family in Kyiv and created the Black Square (1915) in Moscow. These are the most important facts that today allow three countries (Poland, Ukraine and Russia) to consider him as their “own” artist. Art historians and curators actively research Malevich’s work, usually arguing that he belongs to the culture they themselves represent.
This paper gives a brief overview of the discovery of Malevich in the West and of his late recognition in the USSR. It also deals with the growth of his popularity since the early 1980s, and provides examples of the current use of his name and work in cultural-political narratives. Malevich’s legacy has gone far beyond art history to become iconic in each of the three countries. Today the abstract visual language unseats realistic images due to its universal nature; pure abstract forms become incorporated with their three-dimensional configurations into urban spaces. Million-dollar prices at auctions encourage counterfeits, resulting in some huge scandals. Suprematist language is employed in a very broad range: from the tragic to the entertaining. Malevich becomes a “trump card” in national “decks.” It is precisely the international meaning of Malevich’s ideas that has caused national “competition” for this author.
Keywords: Malevich, abstract art, national identity, cultural and memory politics, Ukraine, Poland, Russia. Résumé
Connu de très peu de gens il y tout juste un demi-siècle, Kazimir Malévitch (1879-1935) est aujourd’hui un artiste à la renommée mondiale. Né dans une famille polonaise à Kiev, Malévitch évitch a créé son célèbre Carré Noir (1915) à Moscou. Tels sont les faits les plus importants qui permettent aujourd’hui à trois pays — la Pologne, l’Ukraine et la Russie — de le considérer comme leur « propre » artiste. Ainsi, les historiens de l’art et les commissaires d’expositions qui lui consacrent leurs recherches tendent majoritairement à démontrer que Malévitch appartient à la culture qu’ils représentent eux-mêmes.
Cet article propose tout d’abord un aperçu de la découverte de Malévitch en Occident et de sa reconnaissance tardive en URSS, ainsi que de la croissance de sa popularité dès les années 1980. Il fournit ensuite des exemples actuels d’utilisation de son nom et de son œuvre dans les narrations politico-culturelles. L’héritage de Malévitch a dépassé les cadres de l’histoire de l’art, et Malevitch est devenu une icône dans ces trois pays. Aujourd’hui, le langage visuel abstrait détrône les images réalistes en raison de son approche universelle ; les formes purement abstraites s’intègrent avec leurs configurations tridimensionnelles dans les espaces urbains. Les prix de plusieurs millions de dollars aux enchères encouragent les contrefaçons, ce qui génère d’énormes scandales. Le langage suprématiste est utilisé dans une très large gamme allant du tragique au divertissement. Malévitch est perçu comme un « atout » dans les « jeux de cartes » nationaux. C’est précisément la signification internationale de ses idées qui a provoqué une « compétition » nationale autour de son nom.
Mots-clés : Malévitch, art abstrait, identité nationale, politique culturelle et mémorielle, Ukraine, Pologne, Russie.
This article does not contain a new attempt at explaining Black Square, nor does it offer unambiguous answers to the questions that constitute its title. It is an observation on the use of works of art and the names of their creators by national and state institutions in their own cultural-historical narratives. The example of Malevich, the avant-gardist, who attached no importance to national issues in art demonstrates the paradoxical, ambivalent connection between the national and the international. The greater the international significance, the greater the desire to “claim” the name for one’s own national culture. No one is going to fight for an artist engrossed in ethnic subjects. But for a master who turned the entire art world on its head, the competition continues.
The name of Kazimir Malevich (1879, Kyiv–1935, Leningrad) has been “widely known” for hardly more than half a century. After his death, the creator of Suprematism was “officially” forgotten in the Soviet Union and “for the next fifty years he was a non-person” (Douglas 2007, ii). The West saw Malevich’s works at exhibitions in Warsaw and Berlin in 1927, and once again at the famous show Cubism and Abstract Art organised by Alfred H. Barr, Jr. at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1936 (Barr 1936, 215–216, nos. 147–160). The director of MoMA visited Europe and saw Malevich’s works at the Hannover Landesmuseum (formerly Provinzialmuseum) in 1935. Barr bought two paintings by Malevich for 200 dollars, transporting them wrapped around his umbrella through the Netherlands to the US (Andersen 1970). Already in the mid-1930s, this prominent American art historian understood the significance of Malevich’s legacy:
In the history of abstract art, Malevich is a figure of fundamental importance. As a pioneer, a theorist, and an artist he influenced not only a large following in Russia but also, through Lissitzky and Moholy-Nagy, the course of abstract art in Central Europe (Barr 1936, 126).
Then the silence lasted almost until the end of the 1950s.
In 1957, the exhibition Predecessors of Abstract Art in Poland [Précurseurs de l’art abstrait en Pologne] was held at Galerie Denise René in Paris, where works by Malevich and four Polish abstractionists were displayed (Précurseurs 1957). Malevich’s paintings were not being exhibited in Paris for the first time (three of his Cubist compositions were shown at the Salon des Indépendants in 1914), but it was the first time he had been placed in the context of Polish avant-garde (Turowski 2002, 220–223; Luba 2017, 60–74). The decisive push in the (re) discovery of Suprematism was the purchase of Malevich’s works and archives by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1958. This was the part of the artist’s oeuvre that he entrusted to the architect Hugo Häring, who helped Malevich appear at the Berlin exhibition in 1927 and kept the collection during World War II. By the next year, 1959, Malevich exhibitions were being held in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Franz Meyer, the director of the Kunsthalle and Marc Chagall’s son-in-law, curated a solo Malevich show in Bern (Meyer 1959). Apparently, Chagall accepted it, forgiving Malevich the Vitebsk incident, when he had invited Malevich to teach at the Vitebsk Art School in 1919, and later as a result of their differing views, was forced to resign his post and move to Moscow in 1920 (Lampe 2018). Six months later, a Malevich exhibition was held in London at the Whitechapel Gallery. Camilla Gray wrote the preface to the catalogue. She made a few errors on some biographical facts, but she was absolutely aware of Malevich’s value. Gray compared him to Kandinsky and Mondrian, and put him at precisely the same level as “historic pioneers whose ideas extended the field of painting” (Gray 1959, 10–11). At that time, she was just 23 years old, did not have a special art education, and had only begun to collect material for her famous book The Great Experiment: Russian Art, 1863–1922 (London 1962). In 1964, the young director of the Kunsthalle in Bern and future curator of the landmark shows Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (1969) and Happening and Fluxus (1970), Harald Szeemann, exhibited Malevich together with Duchamp, accentuating the fact that Suprematism and ready-mades were the two key discoveries of twentieth- century art (Szeemann 1964). Malevich’s legacy began to be actively “in use” by Western artists.
The 1970s publication of four volumes of the artist’s texts in English by Troels Andersen (Malevich 1968–1978) and their French translation by Jean- Claude Marcadé (Malévitch 1974–1994) made available his heritage for Western researchers. At this time Black Square (1915) was still “sleeping,” hidden in the store rooms of the Tretyakov Gallery. It was shown for the first time in the West at the exhibition Paris-Moscow in 1979; this was the second Black Square done by Malevich in 1929 (Paris-Moscow 1979, 155).
Active exploration of Malevich in the Soviet Union started after the exhibition Moscow-Paris (1981), on the wave of perestroika and general interest in the Russian avant-garde. The avant-garde pushed socialist realism into the background, as was literally shown in Malevich Country, 1985 (oil on canvas, 137.2 × 177.8 cm
private collection, Moscow) by Russian-American artist Aleksandr Kosolapov.
He overlaid the canonical socialist realist image Stalin and Voroshilov in the Kremlin, 1938 by Aleksandr Gerasimov with the inscription “Malevich,” written in red English block letters. In another composition, Malevich-Marlboro, 1997 (acrylic on canvas, 122 × 108 cm, Moscow Museum of Modern Art), Kosolapov “conclusively transformed the real Malevich into a universal sign of symbolic exchange, a trademark” (Karasik 2007, 335). The name “Malevich”, similar to “Marlboro”, expensive cigarettes that went on sale in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, became a “status symbol,” a peculiar password that meant “I am familiar with the new free life, with the avant-garde in art as well” (See Figure 1). The Russian specialist and publisher of Malevich’s texts Aleksandra Shatskikh aptly noticed that “around the centenary of Malevich’s birth (1979), a whole ‘Malevich industry’ was launched” (Shatskikh 2007, 317). Even today, a vulgarised, simplified perception and serious philosophic reflections trail behind this name in two long trains.
In 2007, in the Hamburg Kunsthalle, there was an exhibition Das Schwarze Quadrat. Hommage an Malewitsch that displayed works by Malevich’s students and colleagues, such as El Lissitzky, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and by the top figures of the post-war abstract art —Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, Günter Uecker, Richard Serra, Samuel Beckett, Bruce Nauman, the Irwin group and others (Gaßner 2007).
Founded in 1983, the Slovenian group Irwin carried out a performance in Moscow in 1992, The Black Square on the Red Square, as a sign of respect to the forefather of Suprematism. It was a square of black cloth, 22 meters on each side that covered the main square of the Russian capital. In the Soviet Union, and later in Russia, Malevich provoked artistic reflections from non-conformists and conceptualists. As early as 1982, Il’ya Kabakov wrote an ironic text Not Everyone Will Be Taken into the Future, published in the underground journal A-YA. “A great, epoch-making picture” appeared in his imagination:
1913. Europe. A high mountain. Not even a mountain, but a kind of plateau. A small knot of grim people is standing at the very edge of the plateau, where it falls away like a sliced-off piece of cheese. Before them, right at their feet, where the land, going downhill, breaks off, a sea of mist is spread out. How are they to go forward and to where? Behind the group of leaders stands frightened, huddled humanity, at a respectful distance in order not to interfere with the conference. What will be the leadership’s decision? Silence. A great historical moment.
If one draws close, trembling all over, to the small, elevated meeting, there, among the other great helmsmen, one sees Malevich. Calm. Self-controlled. Fully prepared for the immense responsibility that has fallen to his lot…. To sum up:
But only a few will be taken — the best. Those whom the headmaster chooses — he
knows whom (Kabakov 2017 , 190).
In 1988, a documentary The Black Square was filmed on the basis of Olga Sviblova’s script, in which the artists Il’ya Kabakov, Erik Bulatov, Anatoliy Zverev, Vadim Sidur, and Vladimir Yakovlev speak about Malevich’s influence on their work. In 2007, the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg organised the exhibition Adventures of the Black Square that collected some of the most interesting variations on the theme made by Russian artists (Карасик, Горячева 2007). Discussions are still ongoing, caused by the publication of Boris Groys’s book Gesamtkunstwerk Stalin (Groys 1988), in which he showed how avant-garde ideas were used to shape totalitarian art in the USSR.
There are several paradoxes within Malevich, just as with the avant-garde in general. Avant-gardists promoted the inherent worth, the self-sufficient value of art. At the same time, they produced a great number of texts, theories, and manifestos explaining what was supposed to be self-sufficient. They were not interested in issues of national identity. Malevich’s aesthetic radicalism inspired many Western abstractionists who, like Malevich (who called himself “earthian” [землянит]) found that the issue of national identity (in art) was not offundamental importance. But over time researchers have successfully subdivided the main trends onto “national shelves”: French Cubism, German Expressionism, Italian Futurism. In the context of humanity divided into national states, the achievements and individuals internationally renowned in science, economics, and art become very important. This is a property of collective psychology —the need for “imagined communities” to be proud of their representatives. They are like trump cards in the national “decks.”
Kazimir Malevich was born into a Polish family in Kyiv and created his Black Square in Moscow. These are the basic facts that allow three contemporary states, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia, to consider him their “own” artist. There is certainly also the period of his stay in Vitebsk, which left traces in the artistic life of Belarus and had an impact on the Jewish students of UNOVIS (Turowski 2010). Art historians and philosophers actively research Malevich, usually arguing that he belongs to the culture they themselves represent.
It was in Moscow and Saint Petersburg that Malevich developed his own theory of Suprematism. There, he also painted his key paintings and wrote major theoretical works in Russian. He undoubtedly remains a central figure of the Russian avant-garde. The Blue Noses group from Novosibirsk (founded in 1999)
put him ahead of Chagall and Kandinsky in their Russian March, History of Russia from Rurik to Putin [Русский Марш (История России от Рюрика до Путина)], 2011 (photoprint, 170 × 120 cm, Tsukanov Family Foundation, London) (See Figure 2).
However, Malevich came from an ethnically Polish family, of which his name Kazimierz is sufficient proof. In 1922, his student Władislaw Strzemiński, in the article “Notes on Russian Art” [O sztuce rosyjskiej – Notatki] wrote: “Malevich is not the first preeminent Pole in Russian art (e.g. Orłowski, Vrubel)1” (Strzemiński 2002, 275).
In 1927, after Malevich’s sojourn in Warsaw, the Polish poet and art critic Tadeusz Peiper added:
Polish artists are overcome with melancholy at the thought that the Pole Malevich is not here working at their side. After all, our artistic life is not exactly rich with artists of his calibre; his collaboration could give new impetus to Polish art and could provide valuable support. We miss Malevich… The sadness that our countryman comes to us only as a guest stifles our voices! Malevich should not just visit us! Malevich should not just visit us! (Peiper 2002, 664).
Much later, in the mid-1970s, Helena Syrkus shared her memories about Malevich’s visit to the Polish capital:
A sturdy, broad-shouldered figure, thick dark bangs brushed off his forehead. His face looked so similar to me to late portraits of Mickiewicz that when we needed to find Malevich in the crowd of travellers arriving at the platform at the main railway station in Warsaw, I approached him without hesitation, even though I had no idea what he looked like (Syrkus 1976, 149).
Eventually, a book would be published in 2002 by Polish-French art historian Andrzej Turowski, Malewich in Warsaw [Malewicz w Warszawie], which included a detailed Polish genealogy of the Malewicz family. In 2004 at a conference in New York, the Ukrainian-American professor Myroslava Mudrak presented an essay in response, “Malevich and his Ukrainian Contemporaries,” where she noted that “a volume comparable to Turowski’s, but dedicated to a closer documentation of Malevich’s activities in Ukraine, has yet to be written” (Mudrak 2007, 82). The most important work in “Ukrainising” Malevich has been done by Kyiv scholar Dmytro Horbachov. Thanks to his publications Peasant Malevich [Малевич мужицький] (1993), Malevich’s Kyiv Triangle [Киевский треугольник Малевича] (2000), and “We Were Both Ukrainians”: Malevich
1 Aleksander Orłowski, 1777–1832 —a Polish artist who worked from 1802 on in Russia, where he became a pioneer of lithography; Mikhail Vrubel (Wróbel), 1856–1910, a well-known representative of the Russian Modern style, whose paternal grandfather was a Pole.
and Ukraine [“Він та я були українці.” Малевич та Україна] (2006), academic discourse has received a considerable number of archives documents, letters, and memoirs from relatives and students confirming Malevich’s multiple connections and contacts with Ukraine (Горбачов 2006). The title We Were Both Ukrainiansis a quotation from the artist’s autobiography in which he described his walks for summer sketches with artist Lev Kvachevskiy in Kursk in 1897–1898 (Горбачов 2006, 26). In his memoirs, Malevich also emphasized that his artistic vision of the world was shaped under the influence of the Ukrainian village. The French specialist Jean-Claude Marcadé actively underlines the significance of Ukrainian landscapes and folk art on the artist’s journey to Suprematism. The parallels provided the basis for the design of a Ukrainian version of Marcadé’s book on Malevich published by Rodovid Press in Kyiv (Маркаде 2013). In this edition, Malevich’s original works are reproduced in combination and comparison with the geometrical ornaments of Ukrainian folk art, the strong and pure colours of folk carpets and embroideries. The discovery of drafts of lectures Malevich gave at the Kyiv Art Institute in 1928–1930 and their recent publication have also enriched what is known of the artist’s Kyiv period (Filevska 2017).
Malevich and his provocative Black Square have gone far beyond art history to become iconic in each of these three countries. There have been some successful initiatives here. In 2008, Jerzy Onuch, then the director of the Polish Institute in Kyiv, initiated the biannual Malevich Award to acknowledge young Ukrainian artists (under 40). As the Polish Institute’s site says, “The Malevich Award is an opportunity to call to mind the contributions of Poles associated with Ukraine in the formation of world cultural heritage.” The winner is selected by an international jury. The artist receives a monetary award and the opportunity for a residence in the Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. Previous recipients include the truly interesting Stas Volyazlovs’kiy, Zhanna Kadyrova, and Mykyta Kadan.
There are also cases of competition. In 2016, Natalia Zabolotna, then the director of the Mystets’kyy Arsenal, initiated the request of the Ukrainian government to change the name of Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv to Kazimir Malevich International Airport. According to her reasoning, “Taking his name for the largest national gateway for tourists would be a spectacular (and effective!) cultural re-appropriation that could help foreign visitors associate Ukraine with the artistic avant-garde that changed the entire cultural trajectory of the present” (Заболотна 2017) (See Figure 3). Other candidates —Hetman Ivan Mazepa and aircraft designers Igor’ Sikorskiy and Oleh Antonov— were also suggested. Eventually, online voters selected Ivan Mazepa, yet the airport
management decided to stick with the old name of Boryspil.
At the same time, in Moscow, the Federal Agency for Tourism ran an all- Russian competition for the “tourist brand of Russia.” The goal was to develop symbols “consisting of recognisable images and associations that come from the word ‘Russia.’” From over a thousand proposals, the jury selected ten brand concepts which it submitted to online voting. In November 2017, a Suprematist map of Russia won (Tourist Brand of Russia 2018) (See Figure 4). What is most striking is not the yellow circle of Kaliningrad, or the blue one of Lake Baikal, but rather a small quadrangle with the caption “Crimea.” Zabolotna sadly and indignantly stated that “Russians used our idea a year and a half later” and that “Ukraine has again lost part of its globally significant cultural heritage to Russia” (Заболотна 2017).
The language of Suprematism —rhythmically arranged geometric shapes of bright, saturated colours— is used in contemporary cultural politics, whether on a poster for a concert of chamber music Villa Musica at Potocki Palace in Lviv (September 20, 2018), in a TV advertisement for a jazz festival in Katowice (November 21–25, 2018) (See Figure 5), or in the announcement for L’ automne du Gl be, a cultural program at the Russian Society of Art Lovers Gl be in Paris (November 4–26, 2018). In late November 2018, in Moscow, in the new Tretyakov gallery on Krymskiy Val (precisely where the first version of Black Square was exhibited), a closed premiere of an opera by Il’ya Demutskiy, For the Black Square [Для Чёрного квадрата], was presented. In 2018 in Ukraine, the first screening of a documentary by Dmytro Dzhulay, Malevich: Ukrainian Square [Малевич. Український квадрат], took place; the same year another documentary, Malevich: Born in Ukraine [Малевич: народжений в Україні], was shot by Fresh Production Group (creative producer Tetyana Filevska). A Malevich biography by Ihor Kolyada was published in the series, Famous Ukrainians (Коляда 2018). At the private School of the Free and Mindful in Lviv, pupils are awarded funny money with Malevich’s portrait on it, similar to the portraits of artists on Swiss banknotes (Cf. Figure 6). Malevich is accompanied by Andy Warhol, whose mother had Ukrainian roots, but not by the customary poets Taras Shevchenko or Ivan Franko. The circle of established people-symbols is broadened to include new heroes. The school is pointing the children toward contemporary international role models.
Malevich’s works are often used to illustrate publications about the Holodomor, or terror famine of 1932–1933. The artist was aware of the tragic events in Ukraine, and they are reflected in his drawings and in his later “camouflage”
works. His compositions have been chosen for the covers of two publications from the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (Graziosi, Hajda and Hryn 2014; Flier and Graziosi 2017).
Malevich is employed in a very broad range: from the tragic to the entertaining. In Lviv, there is a night club called Malevich reformatted from the former Soviet Myr (Peace) cinema (Cf. Figure 7). Entire exhibition projects are dedicated to Malevich. At the Kyiv Museum of Folk Art, Yuriy Solomko exhibited porcelain boots that were soldier-like and Suprematist at the same time. His implication was that Malevich developed the basis for Suprematism during World War I. According to Solomko, the boots are crushing past “Baroque epochs” and “transforming them into the mud under the sole of history” (Спецпроект Юрiя Соломка 2018). One would not dare suggest what prevails in the latter —kitsch, freeloading on the name, or creative metaphor. However, there are also some exquisite aesthetic projects in the area of fashion design, such as the “dress pictures” Kyiv couturier Fedir Vozianov made on the basis of Malevich’s universal symbols. They were shown in October 2018 in Paris as part of the project Le Guide Parisien de l’Avant- garde Ukrainienne.
I could offer many more examples, but one should think about why the founder of Suprematism is so popular in each of these cultural environments. There is another artist who belongs to three narratives. Henryk Siemiradzki (1842–1903) was born near Kharkiv into a Polish family. Upon finishing the Saint Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts, he made a brilliant career for himself as an academist painter. He has large paintings exhibited in the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg and the National Museum in Kraków; his famous curtain adorns the stage of the Lviv National Opera house (See Figure 8). The debate around Siemiradzki’s identity is ongoing, from comments in newspapers to discussions at conferences. To be honest, Siemiradzki is stronger than Malevich as master of drawing and multi- figure compositions, but few people actually know Siemiradzki outside Poland, Russia, or Ukraine. The work of this academist is valued by the conservative part of society in these countries. Malevich is known all over the world. Malevich was a thinker. The courage and radicalism of his ideas have become symbols of mobility, innovation, and exceptionality. Using his visual language immediately implies one is an advocate for a modern and dynamic society.
It must be admitted that the use of the formal language of Suprematism has become international, and for many it has nothing to do with “national” desires for Malevich’s “return” to the Russian, Ukrainian or Polish context, especially for artists and designers from other countries. These issues remain significant in the
sphere of cultural policy, ideology, and (re)construction of art history in each of
these three Slavic countries.
In the second half of the twentieth century, abstract visual language unseated realistic images due to its universal nature. It could be used to speak about the future, the past, and the timeless —about the laws of the universe, and mass tragedies and catastrophes experienced by humanity. Pure forms and colours become signs and symbols not only as images on surfaces (paintings, posters, big screens). They are incorporated with their three-dimensional configurations into urban spaces. The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin includes 2711 grey concrete slabs, or stelae, of different heights that embody the huge scale of violence. The National September 11 Memorial presents two black pools on the former site of the Twin Towers, reminiscent of Malevich’s black quadrangle. The monument to the 96 victims of the Smolensk air crash in Warsaw is a 6-meter long stone triangle which ends in a staircase referring to an airstair (See Figure 9).
One of the reasons Malevich is so popular is his deceptive comprehensibility. Ingenious and deep in his theories, he is also laconic and simple (compared to Siemiradzki, for instance) in his visual implementation. Simplicity is genius but there is another side to it. Who would not be able to paint the Black Square? Million-dollar prices at auctions encourage counterfeits, resulting in some huge scandals. One of the most recent took place in 2017 when the exhibition Russian Modernism opened at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent. It displayed some pieces from the collection of Igor and Olga Toporovskiy. The most surprising pieces were Malevich “artefacts” —a decorated spinning wheel and Suprematist chest that had never been known to any specialists. An open letter from experts forced the closure of the exhibition (Шкуренок 2018). The museum director Catherine de Zegher was suspended from her position. I am not sure the real author will ever be identified, but he or she should be given credit for being bold. He or she must have been captivated by the mystifications of Malevich and furthered the cause.
Malevich never got a chance to try his hand at cinema, but he truly realised its capacity. In a short text from 1929, “Painterly Laws in the Problems of Cinema,” he analysed films by Sergei Eisenstein and Dzyga Vertov. In Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera [Человек с киноаппаратом], Malevich found “a tremendous number of elements (frames) of a specifically Cubo-Futurist nature,” “motion itself, dynamics itself,” “its tendency to de-objectify the city centre” (Malevich 2002 , 155, 158–159). He even wrote a screenplay for a Suprematist film, but it was not until 2018 that an attempt to bring his ideas to life was made by the authors of the documentary Malevich: Born in Ukraine.
In terms of his radicalism, which brought changes to twentieth-century art, Malevich can be compared to Caravaggio and his light and shadow revolution in transitioning from the Renaissance to the Baroque. Shatskikh, who compiled the 5-volume Russian edition of Malevich’s works, believes that “the study and positioning of the Suprematist philosophy is a task for the twenty-first century” (Shatskikh 2007, 327). In December 2018, there was an international symposium entitled Malevich’s Vision of Politics held at Dijon University. The above- mentioned cases offer grounds to expect another conference to take place with the possible title of Using Malevich in Politics.Lest we forget, Malevich has been “known to everyone” for only 50 years. It is unknown how long he is going to stay in the spotlight, probably, until another global reformer appears in art. It is precisely the international meaning of Malevich’s ideas that has caused national “competition” for this author.Illustrations
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Figure 1 Alexander Kosolapov, Malevich-Marlboro, 1997.
Figure 2 Blue Noses Group. Russian March. The History of Russia from Rurik to Putin, 2011 (Fragment).
Screenshot of a presentation of a project to rename the Boryspil international airport in Kyiv after Malevich, 2016.
Screenshot of a Suprematic Brand of Russia, 2017.
Funny money for the pupils at a Lviv private school, 2017.
Malevich night club in Lviv, 2018.
Polish TV commercial for a Jazz festival in Katowice, November 2018.
Siemiradzki Henrik, Right section of the Lviv stage curtain (History, Tragedy, Comedy), 1900 (Fragment).