The Suprematist Manifesto

The Suprematist Manifesto

The Suprematist Manifesto

-By Shambhavi

Art movements are basically restricted time periods where people create a specific style of art with a common philosophy or goal. People normally confuse art movements and art eras. Renaissance and Baroque are art eras spanning long periods of time and consisting of similar artworks and styles but not the same ideologies. Most span over centuries. Art movements are for a short period of time involving similar-minded artists. These are shorter periods of time, sometimes years or even decades. Impressionism and Post-Modernism are good examples of art movements.

The founder of the movement, Kazimir Malevich was a prominent Russian avant-garde artist and art theorist who profoundly influenced the development of abstract art in the 20th century. Malevich was heavily influenced by the avant-garde poets and the development of literary criticism. He wanted to defy reasons and distort ideas. His Suprematist movement was one of the most radical abstract art movements of the 1920s. He believed that the Suprematist art would be superior to all the art of the past.

Suprematist Art basically consists of light backgrounds with bold colors. The art has no form and primarily uses square and circles. The important elements of this art are the paint was chosen and its texture that distinguishes it from the background.

The first suprematist collection was debuted in 1915 in St. Petersburg. It held 35 art pieces by Malevich including the famous black square. This collection and its artist shaped not only abstract art but also many other important art movements to come and influence artists like El Lissitzky.

The artwork was developed based on Malevich’s belief that non-constructive art was the future. Suprematism lacks any visual cues and is a form of pure abstraction. You know when people look at abstract art they ask, “What should I feel?” or “What am I looking at?” Through Suprematism, Malevich wanted to create an emotion of non-objectivity. Nothing in these paintings is meant to convey an object or feeling. What you see is what you get. It is a black square on a white canvas, nothing more, nothing less.

At first glance, what did you think of the painting displayed up there? Did you ask yourself, what is so special about? What am I missing? What makes that canvas worth millions?

People ask such questions constantly. The genius behind this art movement is provoking thought. It is a black circle on a white canvas, yet people try to constantly look at it and rationalize it. The beauty of this art style is that it challenges people’s preconceived notions of art. Basically, you become a petulant child while looking at Suprematist art. You want to understand the iconography behind a piece of art which is basically only painting.

No, before you even try to think about it, painting a black square or circle on a white canvas will not make you Kazimir Malevich. Art is a first-come, first-serve thing. Malevich was an artistic genius who created art based on an idea unlike any other. He painted to achieve the “zero degrees”, which is the bare minimum which is required to constitute art. He took an idea and created a static image that distorted the entire notion of what exactly is art. He challenged the norms of art and how it is not confined to only objectivity or artistic context. He did the impossible; he made you believe there is meaning behind something which is not even there. The idea is what is worth millions of dollars, not the canvas.

People need to understand that art is not only a portrait or landscape; it is an entire ideology that can be glanced through a single stationary image.