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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, Sept. 17


AmChams Investment and Legal Committee Meeting convenes this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center at 9 a.m.


Learn more about the science of teaching English at todays EFL Seminar hosted by the British Book Center. Revolving around the topic of learning styles, the workshop will help attendees better understand the different effective learning methods that can be implemented to learn English more effectively.



Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburgs answer to the United States popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genres authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBAs newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is Handmade in Germany, an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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