Reading too much into Malevich

I’m still coming to terms with abstract art and how it seems to dominate the art world. I have feelings of contempt for artists like Malevich and Rothko, perhaps because I am slightly envious if the ridiculous sums of money these paintings sell for (put them all together and you could probably pay of the Third World debt instead of lining an oligarch’s pockets. But I think its more personal than that. It’s as though they are mocking the beauty of the world around them, as though they are too good for it.

Do artists turn to abstraction to connect, or disconnect from reality? Is art about reality, or illusion. And how do we possibly know when we have found the answer.

Countless artists have given seemingly random brushstrokes purpose, personifying Prussian blue and writing endless essays, manifestos and isms. Art critics play their part too; as if abstraction evokes some deeper spirituality than Monet or Vermeer could achieve. They’re just too ‘nice’.

Give me O’Keeffe, give me Marc or Picasso or Kandinsky. I might even contemplate Mondrian. But has to mean something. I have to feel it. It has to be genuine.

Because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many different angles you look at it, what time of day it is, or even who’s looking. Black Square is just that.

kazimir_malevich_black_square_1929

 

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4 thoughts on “Reading too much into Malevich

  1. yes, malevich is definitely one of my favourite artists.
    total abstraction is a way to achieve universal harmony [de stijl]. i think his paintings are enormously expressive, not by trying to connect to or disconnect from reality but by teaching us about balance and relationships between elements and colours.
    i hear people saying >> rothko is not art. mondrian is not art. i can do that << no.. they cannot. otherwise their paintings would hang on a wall in the tate modern. playing the moonlight sonata by beethoven on the piano is very easy. but composing the piece is a different story. d'you know what i mean?

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  2. I agree with you in principle; I admire certain aspects of Mondrian’s work. But I like to be able to see hard work go into a painting, and for Rothko perhaps even more than Malevich, I see it more as arrogance and some complacency. ‘I can paint whatever I like and people will see in it what I want them to’. Apologies if I do not express myself too well; there’s just something about ‘lazy’ looking art that bothers me to the core.

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