Red Sweep Black Square

This project is a video/installation piece re: Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" and "Red Square", both exhibited in 1915. They approximate being one and the same, but Malevich considered his "Black Square" to be the true icon - its zero form - for Suprematism. In Malevich's system, the movement from black-and-white Suprematism to colored and finally to white Suprematism was indicated by three squares: a black, a red, and a white one. (Vitebsk, Aleksandra Shatskikh, 2007 [1917-1922])

The first time Malevich exhibited his "Red Square", in 1915, it was subtitled "Pictorial Realism of a Peasant in Two Dimensions". During the Vitebsk years, the representation of the "Red Square" was politicized. Lazar Lissitzky had a hand in this Bolshevization of the Suprematist figure. He turned the "Red Square" into the Unovis seal. However, Malevich and all the other Suprematist-Unovis members deemed the "Black Square" to be the true symbol of Unovis. (Vitebsk, Aleksandra Shatskikh, 2007 [1917-1922])

In the video below, the sweeping of the color red acknowledges "Red Square" as a Suprematist figure, but there is always a return to the true icon, "Black Square" for Suprematism. Click on player to view.

The images below are stills - at six-second intervals (first sweep) - from the above video. Scroll horizontally to view.