During the Soviet censorship, Malevich's art spearheaded the Ukrainian Avant-Garde of the early 20th century. His radically abstract paintings consisted of pure geometric forms and their relation to the surrounding space, a work that's been considered an indelible line between old and new art.
Born in Kyiv in 1879, Kazimir Malevich lived during some of Europe's most turbulent times leading up to World War I and the October Revolution. In his teen years, he taught himself how to paint before studying art. He then segued through realism, impressionism and symbolism in a short time period. In search of his avant-garde style, he found The Great War to be the isolation patch he needed to develop the great leap to a bold new abstract language.
With suprematism, Malevich pioneered pure geometric abstraction as an art form free of social and political context. Simple forms such as squares were elevated to monochromatic fields in this defining modernist movement. His work and ideas were massively influential to many modernist art movements that came after it. His work can be seen in some of the most important museums around the world.
In 1923's 'Black Cross', unlike the famous apolitical and nonsymbolic 'Black Square', Malevich presents us with something less neutral. The cross has a long association with religion and mysticism and is often seen as an image of intersection, a moment that induces the need for a decision. The cross can also be a symbol of death and penance or conversely a time for change and new beginnings.
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