Suprematism is an art movement focused on basic geometric forms, such as circles, squares and rectangles, painted in a limited range of colors. It was founded by Kazimir Malevich in Russia, around 1913, announced in Malevich's 1915 exhibition, The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10, in St. Petersburg, where he, alongside 13 other artists, exhibited 36 works in a similar style; the term suprematism refers to an abstract art based upon "the supremacy of pure artistic feeling" rather than on visual depiction of objects. Kazimir Malevich developed the concept of Suprematism when he was an established painter, having exhibited in the Donkey's Tail and the Der Blaue Reiter exhibitions of 1912 with cubo-futurist works; the proliferation of new artistic forms in painting and theatre as well as a revival of interest in the traditional folk art of Russia provided a rich environment in which a Modernist culture was born. In "Suprematism", Malevich stated the core concept of Suprematism: Under Suprematism I understand the primacy of pure feeling in creative art.

To the Suprematist, the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless. He created a suprematist "grammar" based on fundamental geometric forms. In the 0.10 Exhibition in 1915, Malevich exhibited his early experiments in suprematist painting. The centerpiece of his show was the Black Square, placed in what is called the red/beautiful corner in Russian Orthodox tradition. "Black Square" was painted in 1915 and was presented as a breakthrough in his career and in art in general. Malevich painted White on White, heralded as a milestone. "White on White" marked a shift from polychrome to monochrome Suprematism. Malevich's Suprematism is fundamentally opposed to the postrevolutionary positions of Constructivism and materialism. Constructivism, with its cult of the object, is concerned with utilitarian strategies of adapting art to the principles of functional organization. Under Constructivism, the traditional easel painter is transformed into the artist-as-engineer in charge of organizing life in all of its aspects.

Suprematism, in sharp contrast to Constructivism, embodies a profoundly anti-materialist, anti-utilitarian philosophy. In "Suprematism", Malevich writes: Art no longer cares to serve the state and religion, it no longer wishes to illustrate the history of manners, it wants to have nothing further to do with the object, as such, believes that it can exist, in and for itself, without "things". Jean-Claude Marcadé has observed that "Despite superficial similarities between Constructivism and Suprematism, the two movements are antagonists and it is important to distinguish between them." According to Marcadé, confusion has arisen because several artists—either directly associated with Suprematism such as El Lissitzky or working under the suprematist influence as did Rodchenko and Lyubov Popova—later abandoned Suprematism for the culture of materials. Suprematism does not embrace a humanist philosophy. Rather, Suprematism envisions man—the artist—as both originator and transmitter of what for Malevich is the world's only true reality—that of absolute non-objectivity....a blissful sense of liberating non-objectivity drew me forth into a "desert", where nothing is real except feeling...

For Malevich, it is upon the foundations of absolute non-objectivity that the future of the universe will be built - a future in which appearances, objects and convenience no longer dominate. Malevich credited the birth of suprematism to Victory Over the Sun, Kruchenykh's Futurist opera production for which he designed the sets and costumes in 1913; the aim of the artists involved was to break with the usual theater of the past and to use a "clear, logical Russian language". Malevich put this to practice by creating costumes from simple materials and thereby took advantage of geometric shapes. Flashing headlights illuminated the figures in such a way that alternating hands, legs or heads disappeared into the darkness; the stage curtain was a black square. One of the drawings for the backcloth shows a black square divided diagonally into a black and a white triangle; because of the simplicity of these basic forms they were able to signify a new beginning. Another important influence on Malevich were the ideas of the Russian mystic and disciple of Georges Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, who wrote of "a fourth dimension or a Fourth Way beyond the three to which our ordinary senses have access".

Some of the titles to paintings in 1915 express the concept of a non-Euclidean geometry which imagined forms in movement, or through time. These give some indications towards an understanding of the Suprematic compositions produced between 1915 and 1918; the Supremus group, which in addition to Malevich included Aleksandra Ekster, Olga Rozanova, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Ivan Kliun, Lyubov Popova, Lazar Khidekel, Nikolai Suetin, Ilya Chashnik, Nina Genke-Meller, Ivan Puni and Ksenia Boguslavskaya, met from 1915 onwards to discuss the philosophy of Suprematism and its development into other areas of intellectual life. The products of these discussions were to be documented in a monthly publication called Supremus, titled to reflect the art movement it championed, that would include painting, decorative a

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