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Malevich Retrospective a Big Hit at Tate Modern

Published: July 21, 2014 (Issue # 1820)



  • The Tate Modern exhibit is the first Malevich retrospective in 30 years and includes Malevich's 'Woman with Rake' from 1930-32 (detail).
    Photo: State Tretyakov Gallery / Tate Modern

  • A Malevich self-portrait from 1908-1910.
    Photo: State Tretyakov Gallery / Tate Modern

  • 'Supremus No. 55 1916,' is one of Malevich's Suprematist works on view at the Tate Modern in London.
    Photo: Krasnodar Territorial Art Museum / Tate Modern

A new museum show dedicated to avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich at the Tate Modern in London has earned rave reviews from British press, with The Sunday Times calling it the exhibition of the year.

Malevich: Revolutionary of Russian Art is the first retrospective of the artist to be mounted in 30 years. It starts with his more traditional paintings in his youth, through his experiments with abstractionism and the suprematism that changed the art world and his later work under the shadow or state repression.

His most famous work, Black Square, is at the heart of the exhibit. The painting shocked the world when it was first revealed after months of secrecy in 1915. It later slipped into half a century of obscurity after it became an affront to the new Soviet states enmity toward avant-garde art.

The part devoted to his abstract work is as exhilarating as anything Ive seen this year, wrote Evening Standard critic Ben Luke.

Over the past 100 years, "Black Square" has lost none of its stark power and continues to baffle and bewilder viewers today as much as it did then, wrote curator Achim Borchardt-Hume.

Even after a century of abstract art nothing seems quite so radical as this dazzlingly simple form more parallelogram than square leaping into scarlet life out of pure white space, tilting eagerly forwards. The painting remains forever young, wrote Guardian critic Laura Cumming.

Born to a Polish family in 1879, Malevich grew up in Ukraine, studying drawing in Kiev before moving to Kursk and then Moscow in 1904. It was there that he became part of a group of artists, like Vladimir Tatlin, grappling with new art forms before and after the revolution.

Shunned by the state and accused of being a German spy, he used a small black square as his signature on his paintings, and made four versions of the painting between 1923 and 1929. If you want to see the original Black Square, however, then head to the New Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Too fragile to be loaned out to even Russian museums, it never made it to the London show, which displays a later version of the work.

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The Tate Modern recreates the 1915 exhibition, The Last Exhibition of Futurist Painting 0.10, where Black Square was first exhibited. It was hung in the corner of the room, echoing the place of the icon in most Russian homes at the time and stating his revolutionary intent.

Visitors will be able to experience something of the amazement of walking into 0.10, which is being replicated as faithfully as possible, with the help of a single, precious archive picture of the original event, wrote The Independent critic Claudia Pritchard.

After his death, a version of Black Square was placed on his hearse and used in his tombstone, sadly later destroyed during World War II. An apartment block was built on his burial place last year and a monument to him nearby is inaccessible to most people.

The Tate has also organized a series of talks and guided tours around the exhibit in the next few months.

'Malevich: Revolutionary of Russian Art' runs till Oct 26. Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG. Tel. +44-20-7887-8888. tate.org.uk





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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