Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition, 1916,
Oil on canvas, 88,5 x 71 cm, © 2011 ProLitteris, Zurich
“The artist can only be the creator when the forms in his picture have nothing in common with nature. Art is the ability to bring into being a construction that originates neither from the correlation of form and colour, nor out of the aesthetic sense for the beauty of the composition, but on the basis of importance, speed and the direction of movement.”
Speed, space, movement – that is the impression that Kazimir Malevich wanted to evoke with his Suprematist Composition from 1916. And indeed, the geometric forms really do seem to be flying across the canvas. The deliberate choice of colours allows some blocks of colour to take the foreground, while others seem to be relegated to the background, thus giving the picture a sensation of space. The dynamic arrangement and absence of a central perspective evoke the impression of movement. The shapes appear to be striving towards and away from each other simultaneously.
“Suprematist Composition” is one of the earliest abstract works in art history. Malevich's concept of “Suprematism” envisaged a form of realism that rejected any imitation of the real world, but rather aimed to make visible the reality of the truth that lies behind everything. Malevich wanted to elicit in the observer a kind of mystic perception, an additional understanding. Through a combination of basic geometric shapes on white canvas, he aimed to make it possible to see into the infinity of space.
“The Suprematist system has conquered the blue of the sky, broken through it and has penetrated to the white behind it, the true, the real idea of reality.”