PRINT Summer 1974

Mel Bochner on Malevich, an Interview

WHAT STRIKES YOU ABOUT the Guggenheim show?

What interests me about Malevich is the characteristics of the paintings themselves. It’s important to realize that Malevich was not involved in a reductionist enterprise. He was not a reductive painter, nor was he an abstract painter.

What do you mean by a reductionist painter? What do you mean by an abstract painter?

His black square doesn’t derive from the edge of the canvas. It’s not deduced from the structure of the support; it is a priori. His so-called black squares are never square. For that matter his lines are never parallel to the edges of the canvas. They’re never simply a border within a square, edges in. They’re rectangles. The exterior of a shape comes from its interior; it moves out from the center. The important point about his Suprematist pictures is how they act on the center of the painting.

Isn’t that Cubism?

No, I don’t think

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