Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Kazimir Malevich and the Black Square

"Black square on white field, carrying abstraction to its ultimate geometric simplification. Called a "dead square" and a "void" by the critics, as well as "the greatest by far among the fairground tricks of instant culture." To Malevich, however, this square symbolized a "full void," in that it showed how painting could fulfill itself unaided by any reference to a specific external reality. For him the square represented only Suprematism: "the supremacy of pure feeling" in and of itself. Malevich removes specific subject matter by shifting away from representation and mimesis and towards the purity of mathematical geometry. "The square = feeling, the white field = the void beyond this feeling."

The Black Square is not quite as simple as it looks: even by taking art to degree zero as Malevich does here, he creates a stressed reading of figure that reads two ways, either a black square on top of a white ground or a black hole surrounded by a white border. Every object has a static facade and an inner dynamic."

Much like Malevich's ideal of the square representing 
"a blissful sense of liberating non-objectivity...where nothing is real except feeling... and so feeling became the substance of life." suggests similar connotations with the black square symbolically conveying conformity.
For us the black square reflects the nature of modernity and the organisation of societies in that escapism is offered as a remedy, as opposed to societies providing a remedy for escapism.
The natural progression leads seamlessly onto the conflictual geometry of the triangle and its religious or 'spiritual' affiliations - a 'hyper-reality' to manufacture purpose and a craving for meaning.

In the works of Sartre and Heidegger, they describe FACTICITY as the relation to objects and events, as well as emotions respectively, in order to create a sense of identity. This leads to the split of the consciousness between objectivity and subjectivity, what Sartre coined the 
'in-itself'and the 'for-itself'.
In a contradictory sense, Malevich is objectifying his 'non-objective' square by appropriating a definition upon it. The square must be 'felt' or firstly perceived as a square in order for it to be subjective, emotive. The very fact of calling it a square prompts the viewer to 'see' it thusly, and not to 'see' it as a hollow white square.
The FACTICITY of objects is often where feeling is derived. The 'fact' that I may like Liverpool over Manchester is only considered 'fact' as Manchester exists and the comparison can be made. The same can be said for the mass conformity of an idea (hegemony) that propels individuals to feel a need to 'escape'. One does not exist without the other.

The triangle exists within the square, one is the cause of the other and both are ironic.
Escapism is revered often in the from of religion, and on the basis of ill logic, whilst conformity works very much in a similar fashion, perpetuating the unhappiness that prompts the desire to escape.

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