This video is called Kasimir Malevich Paintings.
It consists of 16 works by the Soviet visual artist Malewich (1878-1935), borrowed from the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum. That museum is being reconstructed and does not have spaces for exhibitions now.
Though sixteen paintings, out of over sixty Malevich works in the Stedelijk Museum collection, are not many, yet they give an idea of Malevich’s evolution and the various influences on his work.
At first, Malevich was influenced by impressionist and post-impressionist painters like Monet, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Van Gogh, and pointillists like Seurat. As he had spent most of his early life in villages, peasant art was another influence.
Later, Pablo Picasso’s cubism inspired geometric forms in his work.
Malevich joined the Russian futurist movement, which brought new influences again. His paintings were at the last common exhibition of the Russian futurists, in 1915 in St. Petersburg (then called Petrograd).
Also in 1915, Malevich for the first time showed paintings in a new style, which he called suprematism. This made him a pioneer of twentieth century non figurative art. Taking Picasso’s cubism one step further, Malevich detached the colours and geometrical forms from the representation of people and objects, making them the only players in his paintings.
The captions at the Van Gogh museum exhibition have only one sentence on Malevich’s views on society and politics: “According to Malevich, art should be autonomous; it should not have social or political aims”. Unfortunately, that only sentence is somewhat dubious. Malevich, having lived in the countryside most of his life, cannot have failed to note the harsh suppression of peasants in the czarist empire. The links to the peasantry in his paintings are links to social issues.
In my view, the essays by Aleksandr Voronsky collected in Art as the Cognition of Life (translated and edited by Frederick S. Choate, and published by Mehring Books in 1998) are among the most indispensable written on art and aesthetics in the 20th century: here.
Colin Wilson marks LGBT history month by looking at the Russian Revolution’s impact on gay liberation: here.