Kazymyr Malevych. Supremat composition І (1916)Educational

Kazymyr Malevych. Supremat composition І (1916)

Kazymyr Malevych is a name that needs no introduction. The founder of the most radical and the most philosophical trend in avant-garde art — suprematism, the creator of zero forms, the author of That One Picture, which everyone knows about, and "everyone could draw like that". It can be imitated, but it cannot be repeated.

For Malevych, whose nationality is disputed by three states at once, the conflict of the avant-garde became very acute. The avant-garde is combined at the same time with national traditions and is fundamentally international at its core. Therefore, Malevych can be called a Ukrainian artist with full right, and any national definition regarding him can be denied — because he belongs to the whole world.

Malevych was not only born in Kyiv, but also taught at the Kyiv Art Institute for several years. Despite this, now only a few of his works are preserved in Kyiv. One is in the collection of the National Art Museum of Ukraine, two more are in the Mystetskyi Arsenal, and some are also in private collections. In addition, another work of the master is presented in the permanent exhibition of the Parkhomivka Historical and Art Museum in Kharkiv region.

Супрематична композиція 1 Казимира МалевичаKazymyr Malevych. Supremat composition І (1916)

Supremat composition I from the collection of the Mystetskyi Arsenal is a typical work of the Suprematist period. This small painting is made with oil on canvas. Elements of different colors are placed on a light gray background. Among them, a light green triangle, a blue circle and several elongated rectangles are recognizable: dark green, brown and black. You can also see a small black square at the bottom left. If you look even more closely, you can find an unpainted surface of the canvas.

This work belongs to the second stage of Malevych's suprematism, when single monochrome geometric figures were replaced by multi-colored compositions. The multi-figure composition from the collection of the Mystetskyi Arsenal does not depict any recognizable object from real life. However, it remains balanced and thoughtful in terms of color spots, their massiveness and location on the canvas. You can even guess which shapes balance each other. It seems that if you remove at least one of them, the whole structure will crumble. In this, as usual in all supremat compositions, there are no concepts of "above" or "below", because the space of the work is independent of the physical world. Even gravity is not a law for him. And all the same, such a closed geometric world looks harmonious.


Supremat composition І by Kazymyr Malevych was animated by Pause to Play animation studio.
Created as part of the Living Collection project

Dmytro Horbachev, a researcher of Malevych's work in Ukraine, says that this work entered the collection of Ihor Dychenko in the 1960s and 1970s. Then the Moscow acquaintances of the collector came to Kyiv with the works of — as they believed at the time — Malevych's students. Dychenko was offered to choose among several works the one he likes the most. Even then, the Kyiv collector assumed that the chosen work belonged to the master himself, and not to his students. After two years of restoration and research in Russia, Ihor Dychenko's guess was confirmed. Kazymyr Malevych was the author of the work Supremat composition I.