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The “arkhitektons” and “planets” of Suprematism

Kazimir Malevich, Nikolai Suetin,
and Il’ia Chashnik, 
with an
article by Aleksei Gan

Extracts from SA, 1927
(no. 3, pgs. 104-106)

During recent years comrade Malevich has worked exclusively in the field of volumetric Suprematist compositions, on problems of the volumetric and spatial forms of material masses. This is somewhat related to the tasks facing creators of modern architecture.

Malevich works intuitively…His experience is not organized by consciousness…So while volumetric Suprematism does not yield objects of that concrete social utility without which modern architecture is not architecture at all, they have vast importance as abstract research of new form, as such.

Kazimir Malevich does not accept either [Rationalism or Constructivism]. He pursues his own “purely suprematist” path, on the principle of its “primacy” or “superiority” [pervenstvo]. What then is Suprematist architecture? It is “the primacy of volumetric masses and their spatial solution in consideration of weight, speed, and direction of movement.”

True, this metaphysical formulation does not yield much, to put it mildly, to an intellect thinking materialistically. But Malevich does not only speak, he does, and what Malevich does, we repeat, has great psychological importance. In his new Suprematist volumes and volumetric combinations there is not the smallest particle of atavism.

This is where Suprematist studies can be very important. They could be very beneficially introduced into the Basic Course of the VKhUTEMAS, in parallel to those exercises currently conducted under the influence of the psychologist [Hugo] Münsterberg’s Harvard Laboratory.

The novelty, purity, and originality of abstract Suprematism fosters a new psychology of perception. This is where Malevich’s great contribution will lie.

6 thoughts on “The “arkhitektons” and “planets” of Suprematism

  1. Kinda puerile but if I ever *did* get a tattoo it would be Malevich inspired. I’m sure that was totally what he was aiming for. Underneath, perhaps: “Hic Rhodus, hic salta”

    Объемная композиция – %22сооружение%22. – Very Fallingwater-esque? I hope Frank Lloyd Wright tipped his cap somewhere to Kazimir.

  2. The question is how it would look in reality. The Soviet architecture proved that their building can often look very grimy. It´s very cold and distant. However, I do agree. Less is more. Despite its simplicity, Malevich Suprematism wasn’t cold or grimy. His paintings always had that sense of serenity about them. Many modern buildings suffer from this over decoration. I remember, when I was researching these tragic examples of modern architecture, I kept wondering where did all good ideas disappear. Or maybe I´m too old fashioned. I´m no architecture expert, but looking at the trends in modern architecture I wonder what will happen next. Seem like people these days are more looking for a playful types of a buildings – but still trying to fulfill the usual code of geometrical correctness.

    Still, the purity of Malevich sketches works on me and l makes me wonder how it would look like.

  3. Pingback: The dead in living color | The Charnel-House

  4. Pingback: Suprematism in architecture: Kazimir Malevich and the arkhitektons | The Charnel-House

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