Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reflection on the Square


I was going to post a translation of Tatiana Tolstoy's essay on Malevich's "Black Square." However, after reviewing it I realized that the translation is atrocious and gets little of the original ideas across. The original focuses on the "Black Square" as a pivotal moment in art, and ties it to a sort of psychotic episode in Leo Tolstoy's life. Tolstoy wrote about an event which consisted of him waking up in the middle of the night and feeling unjustified, agonizing, uncontrollable fear. It is this fear of the unknown (quite literally) and paralyzing desperation, that Tatiana claims the black square encompasses. She is not fond of the piece and claims that until it was produced art was about inspiration (it was about channeling the divine good); whereas after the "Square" all that was good about art disappeared into the darkness, and artistic creation became focused on destruction. I felt that this piece was very in tune with the short story we read for today. It addresses the motivation of art and the evolution of art. I find it beautiful, for while it reads like an essay it has a strange sort of narrative built into it.

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