JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 374 Removing the object from imaging is serious stuff
“This pencil is broken, why won’t it make words?” said Patrick Starfish in Spongebob Squarepants. “I can do this…I can use, my, um….brain!!” he declares, hopefully, with an intensifying anxiety and sweat. After some squirming and smoke and some not pretty inside looks at Patrick’s brain working, (Mr.) Squidward (Tentacles. who never wore paints, ever) )comes in and sniffs the room: "It smells like something broke in your brain and died” he says, removedly. “ THAT’S the creative process!” says Patrick happily. Indeed!
In The Sporanos. one of the guys, Christopher (“Chris tu fuh”) Moltisanti, decides to write a screenplay about his um business life and buys a laptop for the process of creativity. He’s upset when he has a hard time of it, brick walls and all that, explaining to one of his cronies that “I even bought this computer, I thought the thing would come up wit sumthin'".
In a sense, Kasimir Malevich was coming to this sort of non-objectivity, but instead of removing himself from the process like Christufuh and the beautiful Patrick, he removed the reality from his painting.
The Russian-born, ethnic-Polish Malevich (1878-1935) , the first of fourteen children, introduced the genre of Suprematicism in 1915, just a few years after Kandinsky’s first effort in abstraction (and the modern world’s first foray into non-representational art). His first exhibition was exceptional and large—there were some many pieces that it must’ve been the case that he had been working for years with this idea. This was the “0.10” exhibition, and photos of the show in Petrogard, shows the famous Black Square in a place of honor, in the high corner of the room, like a religious icon. (When Malevich finally was laid down from cancer in 1935 the Black Square was hung above his body as he lay in state. It saw him into his world, and saw him out. And, as a matter of fact, his grave is decorated by the Black Square as well.) So many of these pieces are utterly recognizable that it seems almost impossible that they appear for the first time in the same, opening, introductory, show.
Malevich wrote later about the Black Square:
“The black square on the white field was the first form in which non-objective feeling came to be expressed, The square = feeling, the white field = the void beyond this feeling.” (See Roger Lipssey, An Art of Our Own, 1988)
Malevich’s vision on the emptying of form comes again from the 0.10 show:
“Only when the conscious habit of seeing nature’s little nooks, Madonnas, and Venuses in pictures disappears will we witness a purely painterly work of art.
“I have transformed myself in the zero of form and have fished myself out of the rubbishy slough of academic art.
“I have destroyed the ring if the horizon and got out of the circle of objects…”
Three years later Malevich would advance the idea to its logical end came Malevich’s "Suprematist Composition, White on White, 1918". I’d reproduce it here but it is a little pointless, especially digitally, what with its incredible subtleties lost in the electromagnetic sauce. I had the please and opportunity to see this in D.C. at the National Gallery’s homage to Malevich in the early 1990’s, and I can say that the painting is absolutely magnificent.
Malevich didn’t see as much as he sensed the world (so he wrote), and made the structures go blank and empty to fill them again with what he knew.
"And knowledge is of two kinds, one turning its eyes towards transitory things, the other towards things which neither come into being nor pass away, but are the same and immutable forever. Considering them with a view to truth, we judge that the latter si truer than the former." Plato, Philebus