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Foreshadowed: Malevich’s "Black Square" and Its Precursors
by Andrew Spira
Reaktion Books, 2022
eISBN: 978-1-78914-536-6 | Cloth: 978-1-78914-535-9

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
An exploration of Kasimir Malevich’s radical 1915 artwork, its predecessors, and its continuing relevance.
 
When Kasimir’s Malevich’s Black Square was produced in 1915, no one had ever seen anything like it before. And yet it does have precedents. In fact, over the previous five hundred years, several painters, writers, philosophers, scientists, and censors—each working independently towards an absolute statement of their own—alighted on the form of the black square or rectangle, as if for the first time.
 
This book explores the resonances between Malevich’s Black Square and its precursors, showing how a so-called genealogical thread binds them together into an intriguing, and sometimes quirky, sequence of modulations. Andrew Spira’s book explores how each predecessor both foreshadows Malevich’s work and, paradoxically, throws light on it, revealing layers of meaning that are often overlooked but which are as relevant today as ever.

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