File:Chagall IandTheVillage.jpg

Suprematism was an art movement focused on fundamental geometric forms (in particular the square and circle) which formed in Russia in 1915-1916. It was founded by Kasimir Malevich who originated Suprematism in 1915 when he was an established painter having exhibited in the Donkey's Tail and the Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) exhibitions of 1912 with cubo-futurist works. The proliferation of new artistic forms in painting, poetry and theatre as well as a revival of interest in the traditional folk art of Russia provided a rich environment in which a Modernist culture was born.

File:Black circle.jpg

In his book The Non-Objective World, which was published abroad as a Bauhaus Book in 1927, Malevich described the inspiration which brought about the powerful image of the black square on a white ground:  “I felt only night within me and it was then that I conceived the new art, which I called Suprematism.”


 He created a suprematist 'grammar' based on fundamental geometric forms; in particular, the square and the circle. Malevich also credited the birth of suprematism to Victory Over the Sun, Kruchenykh's Futurist opera production for which he designed the sets and costumes in 1913. One of the drawings for the backcloth shows a black square divided diagonally into a black and a white triangle. Because of the simplicity of these basic forms they were able to signify a new beginning.

Another important influence on Malevich were the ideas of the Russian mystic-mathematician, philosopher, and disciple of Georges Gurdjieff; P. D. Ouspensky who wrote of "a fourth dimension or a Fourth Way beyond the three to which our ordinary senses have access".