PRINT February 1978

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 materialism of our time. Painters perceived it before the others. . . . [That is why] painting occupies a place of increasing importance in world culture.” This text by Alexander Vesnin, published in the catalogue of the 10th State Exhibition “Nonobjective Creation and Suprematism” (Moscow, January

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