Malevich is one of the pioneers of Modern abstract art, so I was really pleased to finally see a retrospective of this Ukrainian-born painter at the Tate Modern. The exhibition takes you on a fascinating journey from early cubism and futurism through his suprematist period, ending with his figurative works, which are influenced by folklore.
The works on show are colourful and dynamic. Malevich experiments with the idea of pure shape forms, which led to the beginning of modern abstract art. Suprematism, a word I had not heard before, was coined by Malevich. It was a new system of art using geometric shapes (squares, triangles and circles) free from political or social meaning – simplistic and clutter free.
This is epitomised by The Black Square, which was originally exhibited in 1915. This simple black square painted on a white canvas changed the course of art history.
Looking at the black square, Malevich liberated us from the clutter and constraints of the real world, raising art to a new platform. You have nowhere to go but just to experience and feel the piece. Can we define it? Do we need to? After all, it allows us to get out of our heads.
This iconic piece of art is hung in the top corner of the room, usually left for icons in Russian homes. The positioning is not coincidental: the work was seen as blasphemy when it was first exhibited.
I found the exhibition rewarding and a relief to see someone painting a hundred years ago still makes us stop and think. In the absence of anything, we still have ourselves.

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