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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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