Malevich and objects

Overalls, trams, pillows and, perhaps, the famous facet glass. The invincible singer of insignificance Malevich had a hand in designing completely mundane and tangible things.

Sketches for Artel Verbovka

Artel “Employment” (founded in 1900 in the village of the eponymous Ukrainian woman Natalya Davydova) was known for embroidery. Craft trades have been successful not only among the Kiev intelligentsia. One of the peasants, who work Davydova embroiderers, even had a gold medal, awarded to her at the International Exhibition in London. Initially, national motives prevailed in recruitment decorations. But in 1915 Davydova and Recruiting artistic director Alexander Exter met in Moscow with Malevich. In the same year at the exhibition “Modern Decorative Art in the South of Russia”, three works were presented, according to his design. At the next exhibition in 1917, there were already about 400 supremacists bindings: pillows, tablecloths, fans, screens, towels, bags and pillows – all of which were “inspired by Malevich.” Perhaps, had it not been for revolution, suprematism would have become the main fashion trend of the time.

Knight graffiti

In 1919, Kazimir Malevich went to Vilnius to teach at the School of Folk Art (led by Marc Chagall). Here he founded UNOVIS – the Society of New Art Installers. The tradition of decorating the city for the holidays existed in the school before Malevich. But in the early 1920s, every triumph in Vilnius took on a distinctly suprematist character. Ruddy, an enterprising, ubiquitous Unovis member, armed with paints and brushes, walked the streets. To Malevich’s contemporaries, what was happening in Vilnius did not seem so marvelous.

However, from the 21st century, the picture seems completely surreal. The facades, the city transportation, the grandstands, from which Soviet leaders and agitators are broadcast – all are reminiscent of either the trendy New York gallery or the textbook example of a modern billionaire’s housing. Sergei Eisenstein, who visited Vilnius in the 20th century, wrote: “Here the main streets are covered with white paint on red bricks. And the green circles scattered over the white background. Orange squares. Blue rectangles. This is the Vilnius of 1920. The brush of Kazimir Malevich walked through the brick walls. “Eisenstein’s words are also confirmed by the newspaper” Artist’s Day “:” On the street, in the middle of life, at the Polotsk market, Freedom Square is a sorabisny car, agittramvaj or agitpovozka, and amazed people listen to serious music, songs about black and red squares … ” .

Image, made by sketch of Malevich, 2014. Vilnius, a house at the intersection of Lenin and Justice streets. Photo source:


Experimenting with color, Malevich went far beyond the canvas. Paola Volkova, a well-known artist, described, for example, a typist sitting in a space bounded by walls of a certain color. And a study of how this or that color affected their work, mood, health. Malevich predicted (Elena Petrovna would cough in 20 minutes, Olga Karlovna would print twice as fast, etc.) and test them with practice. During these experiments he came to interesting conclusions. He learned, for example, that white color heightened the sensation of pain, and sought a familiar turquoise surgical dress. He then came up with the idea of an orange vest – workwear, which today unmistakably identifies road workers.

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