There’s a point, almost exactly half-way through John Smith’s film Black Tower, featured in yesterday’s Unseen Masterpiece, in which representation gives way to abstraction as the blackness of the tower...
There’s a point, almost exactly half-way through John Smith’s film Black Tower, featured in yesterday’s Unseen Masterpiece, in which representation gives way to abstraction as the blackness of the tower eats its way across the screen towards a rectangle of total darkness. In art historical terms it feels like a reference to Kazimir Malevich’s black square of 1915.
Malevich’s iconic painting was first exhibited in Petrograd in 1915 in the ‘Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings’ an exhibition which also included work by his disciple Nikolai Suetin – another key member of progressive UNOVIS group, which dedicated itself to promoting Suprematism in all its possible forms. Today’s work, a Suprematist collage by Suetin, takes us back to that time, but also
looks back over John Smith’s shoulder to the white collaged rectangles of John Stezaker’s ‘Tabula Rasa’ – and further back in this sequence to the ‘Found Monochromes’ of white rectangles photographed in city streets by David Batchelor, which featured in his friday film a few weeks ago. It was alongside these in the 2007 that we first had the pleasure of showing this work by Suetin as part of our sequence ‘Eight Days’. More recently it was one of the stand out works in the National Gallery of Scotland’s 400 year history of collage during last summer’s Edinburgh Art Festival.