‘A thing of quality defies being produced in quantity’: Suprematist Porcelain and its Afterlife in Leningrad Design

Research output: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

Suprematism, the current in Russian avant-garde based on geometric abstraction, introduced by Kazimir Malevich in 1915, is widely acknowledged as an important influence of modern design. In this article, I shall focus on the Suprematist approach to a material object [veshch’]. As is well known, the key concept of Malevich’s radically new art is non-objectivity, which implies transcendence over the world of everyday useful objects. Even though he vehemently rejected the depiction of ‘object [veshchevykh] forms’ on a canvas, Malevich was concerned with the way Suprematist artists related to actual objects. I argue that Suprematism was closest to the tangible world in the sphere of porcelain and explore the involvement of Malevich and his students with the State Porcelain factory in Petrograd-Leningrad. My article has two aims - to examine the application of Suprematist principles to concrete objects and to show the continuity between avant-garde design work and designs produced during the period of late socialism. I shall begin by discussing the initial temporal context and institutional setting for the emergence of Suprematist porcelain, and will then go on to explore the Suprematist approach to material objects as embodied in several porcelain designs. This will be followed by an investigation of the Post-Suprematist changes in porcelain design during the 1930s and late 1940s, and, finally, an assessment of the Suprematist legacy in Leningrad porcelain design of the 1960s-80s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication100 Years of Suprematism
PublisherBrill
Publication year15 Dec 2018
???applicant???The Malevich Society
StateSubmitted - 15 Dec 2018

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