Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935)

Sound poem from the article Of poetry [O Poezii], 1919, 0'25"
Voice – Ernest Peshkov
Recording – Miguel Molina, Audio Laboratory of the UPV Dpt. of Sculpture (Valencia, Spain)
Postproduction – Leopoldo Amigo
Production Date – 2006

Kazimir Malevich, real name Kazimir Severinovich Malevich (b. Kiev/Ukraine 1878 - d. Leningrad/St. Petersburg 1935) was fundamental as a painter and writer to the Russian avant-garde, and also on the international scene. He began his work in futurism with his contribution to the sets and costumes of the opera Victory over the Sun (tracks 4, 5, 6 and 7), later creating his own movement in 1915, called Suprematism, defining this as art "absolutely without object", or as a "new plastic realism"; his Black Square (1915) being the minimum (and maximum) synthesis of his pictorial proposals. In the post-revolutionary period, he created the UNOVIS school-workshop ("the Affirmers of the New Art") where education was combined with artistic investigation by means of workshops, and its practical application in society with the execution of public commissions. He also tackled writing in great depth, especially in a critical essay about the various avant- garde movements including his own. And although he didn't cultivate the genre of poetry, we do know of probably the only poem he wrote, which appeared in his article "Of poetry" [O Poezii], written in 1918 and based on previous notes made between 1916-17, which was published in the magazine Izobrazitelnolé Iskousstvo (1919) . In this article he defines poetry, which for him is "building on rhythm and tempo", arising as an expression "from the visible forms of nature, from its rays, which stimu late our creative force subordinated to rhythm and cadence". So we can understand that the poet composes poetry "where the forms of nature are absent" because in reality "pure rhythm" is his "form of the world". With these ideas Malevich transfers his theories on pictorial Suprematism to the field of poetry, with rhythm and time be ing the " art without object" of poetry. He suggests to the poets that they abandon the " word" as a form, or realist object, in favour of a "language without words" , a non-objective poetry. At the end of this article, Malevich introduces a wordless poem of his own that doesn't represent any specific external meaning (an identifiable object) but is given an essent ial autonomy. He ends up saying after the poem: "This is where the poet has exhausted his noble action: these words can't be gathered up and no one can imitate their author".

O poezii

Ulé Elé Lel Li One Kon Si An
Onon Kori Ri Koassambi Moena Lej
Sabno Oratr Touloj Koalibi Blestore
Tivo Orene Alij

[transcription by Andrée Robel]

Russian Futurists from the GLM Collection (1920-1959)
Sound Experiments in The Russian Avant-Garde (1908-1942)