Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Suprematism Infinity: Reflections, Interpretations, Explorations
“Suprematism Infinity: Reflections, Interpretations, Explorations,” curated by Regina Khidekel, showcases works by Irina Nakhova, Tom Chambers, Max Semakov and Mark Khidekel.  It explores works inspired by the legacy of Suprematism through new forms, styles, media, and technology.
Invented by Kazimir Malevich a century ago, Suprematism became one of the most radical and influential art movements of the 20th century. It brought the Russian avant-garde into a state of absolute non-objectivity, based on “pure feeling.” Suprematism created a perception of multiple dimensions without horizons or boundaries and translated these perceptions into energetic relationships between primary geometrical forms. Suprematism also produced a synthesis that merged exploration of the imagination with revolutionary changes in modern science; it allowed development while embracing science and technology as creative tools. The issues of nature, space and the environment remain cornerstones of contemporary discourse. It is through Suprematism that these issues can be discussed emotionally and creatively.  The “blissful sense of liberation” experienced by Malevich can be found in a legacy that continues to encourage the emergence of new ways to create and interpret art.

About the Artists

Irina Nakhova, the first female artist to represent Russia at the Venice Biennale, will present a series of video clips documenting her Green Pavilion’s “total environments,” which according to The Guardian was one of “the best 5 pavilions” of Venice Biennale 2015. Her discovery of the liberating power of Suprematism in the early 1980s allowedNakhova to abstract herself from the Soviet reality and create a new artistic environment in her own apartment. It became one of the seminal projects of Moscow conceptualism and Nakhova’s site-specific environmental art. Nakhova’s “Malevich’s Cube,” is the focal point of her “time machine”.   Marked by three lightening squares the black room is “the axis of past, present and future.”  Space, light, colors, and video imagery create an experience that is both emotionally charged and engaging for the viewer.  In Nakhova’s words, the black cube represents a “strange, mysterious, unpredictable Russia.”
Tom Chambers, an artist and educator of digital/new media art, exhibits a transition from realistic photos to pixel abstractions in his series of pixelscapes, “My Dear Malevich” and “Red Sweep Black Square”. They are part of a larger body of works entitled “Black Square Interpretations and Other Suprematist Explorations.” For Chambers, “Pixelscapes is minimal art in keeping with Malevich’s Suprematism … the feeling of non-objectivity … the creation of a sense of bliss and wonder via abstraction.”
Max Semakov, photographer and artist, in his series “Where is Black?” injects colored planes into ordinary landscapes in the search for the point of transition to the Suprematist universe. His project “Suprematist Park” is inspired by Suprematist architectons transformed into elements of recreational architecture. Chambers and Semakov, who share similar aspirations, produce works that have similarities in method or intent to earlier Suprematist pieces, but make use of digital/new media, resulting in the hybridization of the non-objective form.
Mark Khidekel explores the Suprematist form-creation principles through his career as an architect, designer, and artist. Khidekel has produced many multi-functional projects, including his Post-Suprematist design for the St. Petersburg Russian Museum’s Depository and innovative environmental projects in Russia and the US such as Ostrov (1970s) and Bridge-city (2008-2014). These continue the visionary and environmental legacy of futuristic projects from the 1920s.