OBSERVATORY III / SUPREMATISM in design WORKSHOP
The workshop took place on 6-12 July 2017. In their work the students were to answer these questions:
Can SUPREMATISM* as an idea of pure art be a link between art and pragmatic design?
Can SUPREMATISM be a pretext for seeking new experiences and solutions in design?
*Suprematism: an abstract art movement created in 1915 by the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich, who also had a connection to Vitebsk in Belarus, where he taught at the Vitebsk Art School. Suprematism assumed the complete detachment of art from reality; it reached for a maximum simplification of form and, above all, an end to narration and representation of objects in art.
Workshop and exhibitions organiser: Culture.pl
Curators: Agata Kulik-Pomorska & Pawel Pomorski
1. CHESSMEN / Oralin Egor from / Academy of Fine Arts in Minsk
The hierarchy of the chess pieces and pawns is denoted by the different heights of the pieces, from tallest to smallest. Both players’ pieces are the same colour but differ in the placement of details. Classic chess pieces differ from each other in colour; in this design colour differentiation is not important. What is important is to make the figures different when both players have the same colour.
The inspiration for this form of chessmen were two paintings by Malevich: Black Square and White on White.
The first of these was the beginning of Suprematism in art. The name itself originates from Latin and denotes ‘the highest’. Pointing to simple shapes in basic colours, Malevich indicates the basic tools an artist can operate with. An art movement that started like this also had to end in a radical manner. The painter dotted his i by painting White on White.
2. LITURGICAL VESSEL / Ulyana Hilo / Academy of Fine Arts in Minsk
This piece is an expression of the personal mysticism of the designer, based on the idea of Malevich’s square. The vessel is filled with water which reflects the sky.
The search for order, inner harmony and the rules that regulate the world, contemplation and mysticism – these are ideas that often appear in Malevich’s writing. The geometric figures Malevich used to express abstract concepts became the means of depicting the world of the spiritual and of personal experience in the quest for the Absolute. In his mystic-artistic quest Kazimir Malevich found inspiration in the art and theology of the icon. It was learning to paint icons and avant-garde experimentation that led Malevich to the abstract. The black square was treated by him as an abstract emanation of the divine. “The living square, the chosen one of the gods,” he said.
3. SOUVENIR / Tanya Pashkevich / Technological University in Vitebsk
These are three-dimensional building blocks for making Suprematist compositions. The composition is moved out of the flat surface of the canvas and into three-dimensional space.
The piece is a souvenir from Vitebsk, where Malevich’s art is still visible in public places.
In Suprematism the basic means of expression for the artist is the combination of shape and colour. “Colour and texture are of the greatest value in painterly creation — they are the essence of painting,” wrote Malevich in his manifesto. Suprematism was rooted in his desire to move away from the traditional representation of subjects, in the direction of an art of pure colour and geometrical forms. Suprematism rejected the notion of subject as the basis or motive of art.
4. COMBO / Irena Mistsjukiewicz from the Academy of Fine Arts in Minsk
The inspiration for this design are Malevich’s solid compositions of planes intersecting at right angles. These are form as architectural composition.
This design is a Suprematist composition of 3 utilitarian objects: a mug, a sugar bowl and a teaspoon, whose shapes allude to the geometrical abstractions of Malevich.
5. TRACKS / Aleksandr Bondarek / Academy of Fine Arts in Minsk
This device makes tracks in the sand and enables the painting of geometric compositions. The tracks left in the sand are an allusion to Zen gardens but have purely geometric shapes. A different attachment allows the user to paint Suprematist graffiti.
The object itself does not have a Suprematist form but the tracks it leaves are Suprematist in style.
6. H2O CLOCK / Konstantin Kozak / Technological University in Minsk
The creator of this piece wanted to see and hear time flowing.
The design measures time with falling drops of water at the right tempo, measuring out seconds, minutes, hours… The falling drop hits a square, a clock face, and flows into a measuring container to show how much time has passed. The user can control the measurement of the flow of time by regulating the frequency of the falling drops of water.
The design’s form references the forms of Suprematist art and Malevich’s Black Square.
7. SLOW VODKA / Ilya Kotlarsky and Nastya Lemeshonok / Technological University in Minsk
Pour slowly, drink quickly – that is the new ritual for drinking vodka, which this piece forces onto us. The vodka from the bottle flows slowly through a long funnel and during this time we can watch it. The glass is small and we can drink the vodka in it like you should: quickly so it does not lose its cool temperature. The objects are Suprematist in form, with no unnecessary decorations: pure function in a pure form. The piece is not devoid of subjectivity, which Malevich was opposed to. Subjectively, the designer wanted to break the spell of vodka drinking and give this activity a new ritual.