Ukraine 1878 – Soviet Union 1935
Suprematizm: 34 riskunka [Suprematism: 34 drawings]
Vitebsk, Vitsyebskaya Voblasts', Belarus
Materials & Technique: prints, illustrated books, planographic lithograph, printed in black ink. Support: paper
Edition: unknown (11 to14 examples known to exist outside Russia).
Publisher: UNIVOS [AFFIRMERS OF THE NEW ART]
Place Published: Vitebsk
Date Published: 1920
Kasimir Malevich’s Black squares (1915-30) are the iconic expression of black’s revolutionary capacity to signal an end and a new beginning. Across four paintings and a series of prints, drawings and books, Malevich insisted that the sole focus and subject of art should be art itself – colour and shape. The Black square was ground breaking. In its wake, for many of the twentieth century’s great abstract painters and sculptors, black came to embody the prospect of art existing in and of itself, in Malevich’s terms ‘free … from the dead weight of the real world’.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra