Monday, July 10, 2006

Black Square on White - Week of Geek

The above painting is called "Black Square"- 1915, by Russian Suprematist painter Kasimir Malevich he intended it as the end point of art, of representational art, of our slavery to the thing as it appears.

My fellow artists, Rebecca the Wrecker and Plastic Girl have formed a troika this week in presenting a Week of Geek - Geek Chic. We invite anyone to take part - to delve inside the square. We have found that there are areas in the Arts scene that are choking on their own image - they are boring, pseudo-intellectual and artificial. We three believe that it doesn't have to be that way at all.

So to celebrate my resurrected trekkie status; Miss Wrecker's new Neo Luddite Jewellery launch; and our general motivation of cracking the arts' veneer of 'too cool for school'. We bring you this joyous exploration of the square.


Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

hi flo
i cannot see the painting on my pooter but i know the one- we had to memorise it in art college 500 years ago!! i remember that the irony was the it is not longer a perfect black square at all as the paint has started to crack and bubble over time and he must have used dodgy paint from crazy clarks. which subverted his pure modernist intentions quite nicely!

Florence said...

Oh, I will make some alterations and fix the picture problems!

and you used my most hated word of the moment.."Subvert"!!

I don't think he would have minded though if it has bubbled, he wasn't interested in eradicating the traces of the human being so much, that came to moderism a bit later. I like that he was trying to break away from a main stream hegemony that was stiffling artistic creation. Kandinsky writes some great stuff on the nature of art paradigms, he's from the same era (also Malevich showed work in one of the Blau Riter exhibition). Kandinsky wrote, basically, that intially they start as innovations and perhaps as a reactions against an old rule, then as it becomes taken up it becomes popular and main stream, then finally it becomes poisonous and restrictive. Modernism is about a century old, I love Malevich because he was an art revolutionary and for the clean newness of his modernist lines (even love the now yellowing paper) but the Moderists are over. We've learnt their lessons and now its time to move on.

In this sense I'm using his work "Black Square on White" as a zero point for Modernism and the tyrrany it exerts on us artists today in the institutionised world of the galleries. Enough is Enough!

I think Malevich would approve.

ps also thought a nice big black square would be like an anti white box aka gallery;), ie "subverted".

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Perhaps someone needs to switch the lights on in 'black square' It looks very dark.

Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

Just because a word has been used on every single art essay and postmodernist rant since 1985 does not mean that it is intrinsically bad. I think Malevich would be distressed at the now distressed surface of his black square - if he'd wanted to make decay art he could have started a compost heap! The cycle of birth life death decay is so much more fruity than the constant reactionary usurping of the fathers and replacing them with upstarts.

Florence said...

Captain, just about to turn on the light! see today's post:D

Miss Wrecker, I hear you, and undoubtedly your compost heap is a remarkable work of art. I haven't started one of my own for the sole reason that it would be a breach of copyright and I'mm afraid of the law suit.

As to bad paint, once the art of gridding their own paints was lost (aka the craft) paintings from about the impressionists on have been marked by their early detrioration and discoloration. Oil paint will eventually discolour anyway due to the reaction to oil, the degree depands on the type of oil used too. It makes all colour turn towards brown and yellow. So those "old" painting weren't always that dark. A good book for the chemistry of pigments I use "The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques" by Ralph Mayer, Faber and Faber. It gets re-editioned frequently - its not known as 'The Artist's Bible' for nothing.

queen of light and joy said...

The idea of geek week thingie is sooooooooo good. I wish I knew about this when it started.

Florence said...

Hi Queen of L&J, I found your comment! Please feel free to start your own Geek Week and pass the Geeky Goodness On:)