21 September 2014

Malevich at Tate Modern

On the Boulavard and notes on Malevich, pencil on paper 2014

At Tate Modern I stand intrigued by the red hands in Malevich’s On the Boulevard, 1910. Large and clumsy they control the loose painterly figure where traces of reworking show through his translucent yellow suit, activating the still figure. A heavy rough outline emphasises a connection to the surrounding park and accentuates the solidity of his red hands again.
Filippo Marinetti’s ‘Futurist Manifesto’ on speed, technology and the cult of the machine in 1909, begins to emerge in Polishers 1911 with the rhythm of the lines moving, polishing and dancing over the picture surface.
The idea of mechanics is developed in the futurist opera Victory Over the Sun as Malevich’s costumes disguise the human figure turning them into machines. I am surprised at how much their form is changed as I know these design drawings well but have never seen the costumes made up. I watch and laugh, amused by the pendulum action of figures crossing the stage. I notice how the lighting adds to their disguise, it accentuates the forms, giving the figures a strong sketchy outline that reminds me of the man on the bench On the Boulevard.
Malevich’s simplified geometric stage design indicates 
how he is ready to let go of representation and his simple black square is set to become iconic.
Suprematism – in Colour Masses in the Fourth Dimension the red square influences a stillness expressed by the black square above. It animates the surrounding white space and allows a reading of movement and stillness.
Supremeatism 1915 hangs higher than all others in the room. The diagonal blocks appear suspended in movement as they rise up, emphasising the yellow above.
In Works on Paper I am fascinated with one tiny pencil sketch, Suprematist Composition. It simply contains the universe possibly due to the almost unconnected parts, each containing it’s own quality and depth.

Malevich pencil on paper 2014
I see Malevich’s intense interrogation in Self-Portrait, 1933. His right eye dominant, as he now explores the viewer.

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