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At last,a Russian painting that is not about 'something'

  • Kazimir Malevich Black Square 1913
    Kazimir Malevich
    Black Square 1913

1. It is the first time someone made a painting that wasn’t of something

Or at least it’s often held to be so, and the Kiev-born artist Kazimir Malevich certainly thought it was (though the dispute rages on). He wrote in a handout to accompany its first showing in the exhibition The Last Exhibition of Futurist Painting 0. 10:
Up until now there were no attempts at painting as such, without any attribute of real life…Painting was the aesthetic side of a thing, but never was original and an end in itself.
He made his intention clear; he wanted to completely abandon depicting reality and instead invent a new world of shapes and forms that belonged exclusively in the realm of art for art’s sake. In his 1927 book The Non-Objective World, he wrote: ‘In the year 1913, trying desperately to free art from the dead weight of the real world, I took refuge in the form of the square.’

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