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Suprematism


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Russian abstract art movement, created by and chiefly associated with Malevich. He claimed that he began producing Suprematist pictures in 1913, but he coined the name and officially launched the movement in 1915. His Suprematist paintings were the most radically pure abstract works created up to that date, for he limited himself to basic geometric shapes—the square, rectangle, circle, cross, and triangle—and a narrow range of colours, reaching the ultimate distillation of his ideas in a series of paintings of a white square on a white ground (c.1918), after which he announced the end of Suprematism. The spiritual ideas that he attempted to embody in Suprematism are difficult to summarize, for his writing is often vague and mystical: he thought that ‘The Suprematists have deliberately given up the objective representation of their surroundings in order to reach the summit of the “unmasked” art and from this vantage point to view life through the prism of pure artistic feeling.’ In spite of his wish to create a pure abstract art, some artists applied Suprematist designs to functional objects such as pottery and textiles, and Malevich's work was influential for a time even on scientifically minded artists such as Rodchenko. Suprematism, indeed, made a powerful impact on the avant-garde in Russia until the Soviet regime demanded work that was socially useful (see Constructivism) and it later had great influence on the development of art and design in the West.

Subjects: Art.


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