Gallery Vanda Pays Tribute to Malevich’s “Black Square” Anniversary

On December 23, Vanda Gallery opened a thematic exhibition titled Malevich’s Black Square 100. Twenty Georgian artists were commissioned to realize interpret the Black Square as they see it and present their own original versions.

The artists comprised famous Georgians of various ages: Alexander Berdysheff, Tato Akhalkatsishvili, Vakho Bughadze, Gia Gugushvili, Misha Gogrichiani, Zurab Gikashvili, Roko Iremashvili, Levan Laghidze, Gogi Lazarashvili Levan Mindiashvili, Kote Sulaberidze, Oleg Timchenko, Keti Shalamberidze, Leila Shelia, Gogi Chagelishvili, Levan Chichinadze, Ushangi Khumarashvili, Rita Khachaturiani, Temo Javakhishvili, and Kote Jincharadze.

Malevich's suprematistic concept carries the idea that a black square on a white background represents absolute zero; a celestial and at the same time perfect form, a source of endless imagination and interpretation.

The painters given the famous century-old black square as a basis, used this freedom very well and offered interpretations in totally different colors, sizes and technique from each other, embodied in installations and original paintings. Some bear messages on them. Humor is also present. One of the painters says: “What is this Malevich’s Square, couldn't I have painted the same? And today, it costs a property.”

The exhibition Black Square 100, is to celebrate the hundred-year anniversary of the day when Kazimir Malevich unveiled his Black Square at the “Last Exhibition of Futurist Painting” held in the newly-named Petrograd in December 1916. “The exact date it was created is a mystery but its debut was in December 1916,” Sandro Mujiri, co-founder of the gallery told us. “Which is why we set up the exhibition now. 90% of the exhibited works were painted for this occasion.”

Alexander Berdyseff probably remains closest to the original aesthetics. He chose interpretation via personification. “There is a character, maybe, Malevich himself, who is holding the black square in his hands. For me, the Russian avant-garde is very close. I love such exhibitions because everything is done around an interesting theme- it is very concrete and a painter is totally open to wide interpretations and variations. It shows how differently we perceive the square. For instance, Levan Laghidze’s interpretation is red instead of black,” he told us.

Temo Javakhishvili’s works are presented as two twin black squares and the following text: ‘In the material world, because of the restrained capabilities of humans, a barrier appears which can be perceived only through sub-consciousness and heart. As Mr. Blaise Pascal said: when you desire to seek God, the search is infinite and action absurd. It is very like contemplation of a funnel from the narrow end.’

“The first thing that inspired me was that Malevich himself did not have a very distinct and concrete position towards this piece of art,” Javakhishvili told GEORGIA TODAY. “Black Square is perceived differently by different people. When the mind is weak to perceive something, it is already infinity. Christianity tells us that we will see infinity after we cross over into another substance. I looked at Malevich’s masterpiece in this context. Earlier, I was interested in Pascal’s ideas and in this case, this phrase came to me – through the tiny lens one can see the huge area of searching, which is infinitely widening, like through a funnel. I fixed on something like a spy-hole in a door, in reverse, denoting that God sees us all but we do not see Him because of our materialistic world. I’m also showing my old work, with the text: ‘Night comes when the sun is behind the picture.’ I painted it in 1982 and I was again inspired by Malevich’s Black Square. I expressed the soul’s state, when one does not feel like painting, but then the sun arrives again, as a sign of life.”

Misha Gogrichiani’s painting is very original – a black rose in a white square. “I used to like black balloons and black toys in my childhood. I freed the painting, as the white square means there is no frame at all. When I was offered to paint, I did not feel like painting a new piece and instead found this painting that I painted 20 years ago. It is a very interesting exhibition itself,” he commented.

Malevich’s Black Square a world-renowned artwork, an icon of an idea which remained like an almost mythical presence, still continues to inspire and challenge artists, the role of which in modern art cannot be overstated. It created its own era in the history of art, established new movements and almost closed down the history of figurative art by dividing modern art history in two -“before” and “after”.

Where: Chonkadze Street 14

When: Until January 6

Maka Lomadze

29 December 2016 19:29