New retrospective of Constructivist pioneer Kazimir Malevich

The influence of the Russian Constructivists on graphic design over the years has been considerable, with its bright, geometric aesthetic making its way into record sleeves, poster designs and typographic styles.

Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Painting (with Black Trapezium and Red Square) 1915

Source: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Painting (with Black Trapezium and Red Square) 1915

The abstract work of artist Kazimir Malevich was quite revolutionary, and manages to look incredibly modern and fresh today – a century on from when it was created.

Kazimir Malevich, Supremus No. 55 1916

Source: Krasnodar Territorial Art Museum

Kazimir Malevich, Supremus No. 55 1916

This week, London’s Tate Modern is opening a new retrospective of Malevich’s work, showing his progression from early more traditional paintings of religious scenes and landscapes towards his stunning abstract works, including the Suprematist compositions.

Kazimir Malevich (1878 - 1935) An Englishman in Moscow 1914

Source: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Kazimir Malevich (1878 – 1935)An Englishman in Moscow 1914

These heralded Malevich’s invention of the ‘Suprematist’ movement, characterised by stark colours and bold geometric shapes.

Kazimir Malevich, Black Square 1929

Source: © State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Kazimir Malevich, Black Square 1929

The Tate Modern describes the movement as ‘on a par with Duchamp’s “readymade” as a game-changing moment in twentieth century art’.

The show will also exhibit his designs for the avant-garde opera Victory over the Sun.

Malevich (1878 - 1935)?Head of a Peasant 1928-29?

Source: The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg

Malevich (1878 – 1935)?Head of a Peasant 1928-29?

‘Malevich’s work tells a fascinating story about the dream of a new social order, the successes and pitfalls of revolutionary ideals, and the power of art itself’, says Tate Modern.

‘This exhibition will, for the first time, offer visitors a chance to trace his ground-breaking developments not only through well-known masterpieces but also through earlier and later work, sculpture, design objects, and rarely-seen prints and drawings.’

Kazimir Malevich (1878 - 1935) ?Untitled c.1916

Source: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Acquisition confirmed in

Kazimir Malevich (1878 – 1935) ?Untitled c.1916?

Malevich’s legacy can be seen in the work of Neville Brody, who in the 1980s based a number of posters on Constructivist principles, and in Richard Meier’s designs for Alessi in the same decade.

Malevich runs from 16 July – 26 October at Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG

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