Self Portrait in two dimensions by Kazimir Malevich, 1915. Photo courtesy Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Malevich’s ethos was that the canvas should be rid of symbols and reduced to the simplest of forms, only using basic shapes. Instead of facial expressions, gestures, or symbols, basic forms will express emotion instead. At first glance the viewer may only see shapes with added colour, but Malevich wanted the viewer to look further, deeper than one might usually. Kasimir’s apprentice El Lissitzky was someone that took these ideals further. Lissitzky, with a taste for architecture and other 3D concepts, tried to expand suprematism beyond these flat forms and mix in volume, mass, colour, space and rhythm. This laid the foundation for his later experiments in architecture and exhibition design.
The interesting thing is how an art form such as this can take on an architectural approach, using simple shapes to make more complex forms and bigger plans. They do say simple things often turn out to be the best. Here’s a selection of works, starting off with Kazimir Malevich and ending with a few El Lissitzky, which showcases how everything developed in a progressive way.
Painterly realism of a boy with a knapsack—color masses in the 4th dimension by Kazimir Malevich, 1914. Photo The Museum of Modern Art, Imaging and Visual Resources Department, John Wronn.
Painterly Masses in Motion by Kazimir Malevich, 1915. Photo courtesy Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Painterly realism of a football player color masses in the 4th dimension by Kazimir Malevich, 1915. Photo courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago.
Suprematism: Airplane flying by Kazimir Malevich, 1915. Photo The Museum of Modern Art, Imaging and Visual Resources Department, Kate Keller.
Proun 2C by El Lissitzky, 1920. Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Proun 19D by El Lissitzky, 1920 or 1921. Photo The Museum of Modern Art, Imaging and Visual Resources Department.
Proun 1C by El Lissitzky, 1919. Photo Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid.
http://the189.com. 2015. Suprematism | OEN [online]. M. Kazimir Malevich And El Lissitzky. Available at: <http://the189.com/architecture/kazimir-malevich-and-el-lissitzky-suprematism/> [2/7/2015]
The plan of deign has been constructed by a combination of simple and basic shapes, inspired by suprematism.