Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Suprematism means, in Kasimir Malevich's own words, "supremacy of forms". It is almost a study in "abstract" forms conceived in itself – non-objective and not related to anything except geometric shapes and colors.
Malevich created a type of suprematist grammar of forms that was rooted in squares. In the 0.10 exhibition – also called the "last futurist exhibition" – Malevich exposed his very first experiments in suprematist painting. The centrepiece of his show was the "Black quadrilateral on white", placed in what was called the "golden corner" in ancient orthodox tradition – the place of the main icon in a house. Malevich considered this picture the ground zero for suprematism. Suprematism follows the ideas of Non-Euclidean geometry and fourth dimension spread developed by the Russian mathematician Lobachevsky. In this view, each picture is a frozen image of an eternal movement of forms in an ideal space of n dimensions – no up nor down, no left nor right.
The fundamental visual grammar of Suprematism also includes the circle and the cross, made of two elongated squares, forming two rectangles that cross one another. Malevich always used the symbols of orthodox tradition.
Deprived of the right to paint abstract pictures, Malevich nevertheless retained his main conception. In his self-portrait of 1933 he represents himself in a very traditional way – the only way permitted by Stalinist cultural policy – but signs the picture with a tiny black over white square.
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