Kazimir Malevich

Kazimir Malevich(1879-1935)

was born in Russia to polish parents. His family had fled from Poland after a Polish uprising in 1863 against the tsarist army. They moved to Kiev in Ukraine. His native language was polish, but he also spoke Ukrainian.

He grew up in Russia during the tsar time and experienced the October Revolution. He wanted a new social order and the rise of Socialism. He lived in Kursk from1896-1904, when his father died, then he moved to Moscow and studied art until 1910.

He started to paint Russian landscape, workers and religious ceremonies and experiment a lot with painting, but after a visit to Paris in 1912 he simplified his work. In1913 there was a big exhibition in Moscow with cubist paintings which effected all the Russian avant- garde painters, and they started using cubist principles in their work.

Malevich exhibited in St. Petersburg together with Vladimir Tatlin and also had an exhibition in Paris. After years with experiments he ended up with his Suprematism, which is pure colours and geometric forms

He wanted pure feelings and spirituality. His “Black square” in 1915 changed the art for ever. For Malevich it was cero and a new beginning.

Malevich did not leave Russia after the revolution as many Russia artists did, because he believed in socialism. He had a lot of exhibitions and wrote about his theory in books and held several prominent teaching positions in Moscow in 1919.He wanted to transfer his Suprematism into architecture and it was no less controversial than his paintings and writing. He presented his plaster models and grafite pencil drawings in exhibitions in Russia and abroad. After his exhibitions in Warsaw and Berlin in 1927, he fell out of favour with the new government of Stalin, and Malevich lost his position, artwork and manuscript were confiscated and he was not allowed to make art. He was imprisoned for two months and forced to stop with abstraction. He painted in a representational style after that. He died 1935.

His art influenced artists as El Lissitzky , Alexander  Rodchenko and a whole generation of abstract artists.

Luckily Malevich left a lot of his pictures in Europe when he had his last exhibitions in Berlin and Warsaw, and they have been showed in big exhibition in Amsterdam and London a few years ago.