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Lire Malévitch [in French] Du Lérot (2023)



“Throughout his life, Malevich never stopped writing. Manifestos, articles followed one another. From 1920 to 1928, he even stopped painting to retire, he said, "in the new domain, for me, of thought". For what purpose? It is that "with the brush, it is not possible to obtain what one can obtain with the pen". Malevich then writes his great treatise: Suprematism. The world as Objectlessness, Or eternal Rest. Thus, Malevich is not only a painter but he is also a writer, a thinker; it is therefore essential to read him if one wants to gain an understanding of the "objectless world", which appeared to him during the production of his famous painting Black Square (1915).

Certainly, his writings are often considered dense, obscure, even incoherent. This essay aims to show that they reveal a unity of meaning and a logical order of thought, constituting a doctrine, Suprematism. We will first propose an introduction to this doctrine with great caution because of the power and originality of the writings themselves.

The interest of such an introduction is naturally of an aesthetic order: it provides keys to interpret Malevich's painting (Suprematist and "Post-Suprematist"). But there is an even more compelling reason that justifies this doctrinal clarification: Malevich offers us a critique of the modern world which has succumbed to the seduction of the object, in particular the practical object; an object that tends to become needy, empty, and only satisfies our “desire for satisfaction” (the “animal principle”). Abstraction, in the sense of Malevich, therefore, stems from an artistic but also spiritual experience which precisely frees us from the object, makes us enter a "new reality", the "white world". Which is the condition for "recovering the fund of man, freed from the beast". Thus, the Suprematist doctrine appears as a doctrine for today”.





Foreword p. 5


I Prior questions

   A Why reading Malevich? p. 7

    1. Malevich writer p. 9

    2. Malevich thinker p. 13

    3. Malevich art theorist p. 17

    B. How to read Malevich? p. 19

   Note on the writings of Malevich and their interpretation p. 24


II Elements of philosophy

    A. Object / World of Objects p. 28

    B. Towards the Objectless World p. 43

    1. From objective science to “pure science” p. 46

    2. Malevich Platonist? p. 51

   Annex. Hesychasm and Malevich p. 63

    C. A crossing of appearances? p. 68

    1. The negative path p. 69

    2. The esoteric way p.71

    3. The Eastern Way p.73

    Annex. The dimension of radical absence of the phenomenon in its appearance p. 78

    D. A phenomenology of sensation p. 79



III Aesthetic elements

   A. Is Malevich an iconoclast or an iconophile? p. 89

   B. Is there a post-suprematism?  p. 99

   1. The temporality p. 106

   2. The combination of pictorial cultures p. 111


Appendix: A Policy of the Objectlessness? p. 129



Bibliography p. 136


Contents p. 142