May 25, 2021

Monochrome art. From joke to manifesto

Monochrome painting — works of art painted using only one color. Grisaille can also be a monochrome art that includes different shades of the same color. But today we will talk about real “monochrome”. As we know, the most famous one-color work is the «Black supremacist square», drawn by Kazimir Malevich.

Experiments in monochrome painting were conducted long before the appearance of Kazimir Severinovich himself.

In 1617, European famous philosopher, magician, and alchemist Robert Fludd decided to illustrate his own theory of the creation of the world. He made six drawings, which reflected the process of the development of the space, and the first of them, named "The Great Darkness", was a black rectangle, bounded on all sides by white fields.

“The Great Darkness” by Robert Fludd

The second experiment was in 1843 by Bertal and was called "View of La Hougue (night effect), Jean-Louis Petit».

In 1855, Gustave Dore — the famous master of engraving — drew comics "History of Holy Russia". The earliest period, before the 14th century, Dore depicted a black square and added the comment: "The origins of Russian history are lost in the depths of antiquity."

On October 1, 1882, at the exhibition of caricatured and absurd canvases, "The Art of the Inconsistent" was shown — a one-color, completely black image drawn by the poet Paul Bilhaud, with a politically incorrect title — «Negroes Fighting in a Cellar at Night».

Series of “paintings” by Alphonse Allais. Up-right – “Negroes Fighting in a Tunnel by Night”.

Alphonse Allais decided to develop Paul's idea further. The first in a series of seven monochrome "paintings" by Alphonse Allais was a completely black canvas called «Negroes Fighting in a Tunnel by Night» (1883).

"Black Supremacist Square" by Malevich appeared only in 1915 at the exhibition called «010». There are many theories about the idea of this canvas associated with the space, with the sun, with the absorption of art, the reduction to zero of something previous, and the beginning of something upcoming.

After this painting was x-rayed in 2015, they found an inscription in the artist's handwriting — «Negroes Fighting in a Tunnel by Night». That confirmed the fact that Malevich knew about the painting of Alphonse Allais, but unlike his predecessors, he presented it not as a joke, but as a real manifesto of suprematism. Malevich managed to spread the popularity of his painting across Europe. The aesthetics of suprematism have found their fans in modern culture. Fashion magazines were full of geometric subjects. Malevich's artistic ideas found a response in architecture, interior design and even clothing.

The Malevich’s black square is not an art or even a painting and it is not necessary to perceive it in this way, it is a special philosophy, a properly presented new thing, and the destruction of standards.

And even though suprematism in fashion and design today is already outdated and has long been replaced by minimalism, for that time it was one of the most revolutionary ideas that gave rise to modern movements.

Источники и дополнительные ссылки

1. «Квадрат Малевича» (2019, 7 Ноя)

2. «Почему Казимир Малевич — гений, а “Черный квадрат” — это искусство?» (2016, 20 Ноя)

3. «Эхо супрематизма: наследие великого футуриста сегодня»

4. «Малевич не первый, кто нарисовал черный квадрат» (2019, 20 Июл)

Author: Naimanbayeva Dayana

NIS Press — это школьная газета НИШ ФМН г. Алматы, Казахстан. Данная статья была опубликована в выпуске газеты 19 апреля 2021 г.

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