Paint it Black.
Today, abstract art is used in commercial graphics, in fashion shoots, in fashion itself; it’s easy to forget the political and social environment that led to its birth. An exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery is a playful reminder of one of this once-radical movement’s most important figures.
A hundred years ago, Russian abstract artist Kazimir Malevich created an oil on linen work called Black Square. It exhibited as part of 35 similar pieces in ‘The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings: 0.10’ in St Petersburg, two years before the Russian Revolution. Malevich’s squares heralded the dawn of Suprematism, a movement characterised by plain, geometric shapes in block colours, celebrating “the supremacy of pure artistic feeling.” In the years since, Suprematism, like many forms of Modernism, has inspired much debate about the nature of art.
Paying homage to Malevich’s legacy, a new exhibition – ‘Adventures of the Black Square’ – has launched in London’s Whitechapel Gallery. Featuring more than 100 artworks directly inspired by Black Square, the exhibition is split into four themes: Utopia, Architectonics, Communication and The Everyday. With works from artists around the globe, spanning sculpture, architecture, photography and print, this tribute to Malevich illustrates how abstract art has become an intrinsic part of our lives.
The exhibition runs until 6 April 2015.