Andréi B. Nakov

  • The Language of Forms and Colors

    Having been rid of both the object and the subject, painting devoted itself entirely to its own specific tasks and their development has largely filled the void left by the rejection of the object and of its interpretation.

    —A. Rodchenko, “The Line” (1921)

    WITH THE APPEARANCE OF nonobjective painting, and of Suprematism in particular, modern art discovered a new freedom. But artists were not unaware of the difficulties that this new creative freedom of pure forms implied. Thus it was considered imperative that rules of creation should be drawn up as quickly as possible. Yet these rules could not

  • Painting = Colored Space

    PAINTING=COLORED SPACE.1 IN THE history of art, as in life, there are privileged moments when the intensity of the experience that each second brings is worth years. Transferred today into the sphere of romantic idealizations, the birth of Russian nonobjective art in the second decade of this century still conveys a conceptual novelty that obscures understanding. We still find it difficult to become involved with the measured coldness of rational analysis, and, to recall Victor Shklovsky’s words, “To recognize an artist is a means of neutralizing him.” But if the nonobjective art of the years

  • To Be or To Act: On the Problem of Content in Nonobjective Art

    I have only the icon of our times [a canvas], bare and frameless (like a pocket), and the struggle with it is difficult. Fortunately for me I do not resemble you, and this gives me the strength to go further into the empty wilderness. For only there is transfiguration.

    —Kazimir Malevich, Letter to Benois, May 1916

    “THE PERIOD FOLLOWING CUBO-FUTURISM in the world art movement was initiated by nonobjective creation, which should be seen not as a simple pictorial trend but as a new world vision. It includes all types of art and even life itself. This movement is the spirit’s protest against the

  • Back to the Material: Rodchenko’s Photographic Ideology

    AT MOSCOW IN SEPTEMBER 1921, Rodchenko exhibited his three “last paintings” (Tarabukin), each in monochrome: Pure Red, Pure Yellow and Pure Blue. With these works even more than with Malevich’s White on White canvases of 1918, Russian nonobjective art came full circle in its evolution.

    The problem of representation in the plastic arts had haunted creative minds, and the artists now believed they had attained at least one of its limits, if not the ultimate one. The crisis of finalities that this momentary impasse in plastic expression generated was reflected in one of the most violent shocks that