IRWIN - NEWS

Hommage à Malevich - Black Square Continued

group exhibition at Mestna galerija Ljubljana

On the occasion of the centenary of this key Suprematist object of early twentieth-century historical avant-garde art, City Art Gallery Ljubljana is hosting a themed group exhibition presenting a selection of artists from the territories of our former common country of Yugoslavia: Goran Đorđević, Bojan Gorenec, Igor Grubić, Ištvan Išt Huzjan, Irwin,Duša Jesih, Kazimir Malevič, Vlado Martek, Radenko Milak, Vladimir Nikolić,Dimitry Orlac, Tanja Ostojić, Mladen Stilinović, Dragoljub Raša Todosijević.

Modernism’s iconic image, Black Square, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow: a painting by the Polish-Russian artist Kazimir Malevich, first exhibited at The Last Futurist Exhibition 0.10 in Petrograd in 1915, described as the most radical work of twentieth-century art, or the first absolute painting, zero painting, the empty painting, has always been – perhaps precisely thanks to its “mythical” status – an object of scrutiny by countless art historians, theoreticians, and scholars. We could also call it the number one abstract painting, spearheading twentieth-century art right next to Duchamp’s readymades, crucially impacting not only the geometric abstraction of classic modernism, but also Constructivism, Minimalism, neo-geo, and postmodern movements. The two-dimensional monochrome represents a turning point in art, or more specifically, painterly representation of the world, no longer rendering the world in a realist, figurative depiction in accordance with the traditional concepts of art, but rather transforming our view and our vision of the world. A black square on a white background, with “nothing” in it, constituting, in Malevich’s belief, a vision of pure material infinity and the non-objectivity of the world, becomes a window, beckoning to us to lean through it and transcend the level of illusions, to view the world without intermediary, just via the relation between paint and canvas in their primary material presence.

On the occasion of the centenary of this key Suprematist object of early twentieth-century historical avant-garde art, numerous art institutions across the globe are paying tribute to it. We have decided to stage a themed group exhibition presenting a selection of artists from the territories of our former common country of Yugoslavia who continue in the vein of Malevich’s iconographic narrative, ranging from the protagonists of the so-called Suprematist Wave (young-generation painters with avant-garde tendencies in the late 1970s and the 1980s in Belgrade, Zagreb, and Ljubljana), including also their later works, which have not hitherto been seen in Slovenia, to promising young or already well-established artists working in European cultural centers, whose artistic strategies and aspirations highlighting either the social or aesthetic impact of Malevich’s art have also contributed to his revival.