Suprematism falls into three stages, according to the number of squares in black, red and white: the black period, the coloured and the white. In the latter, white shapes are painted on white. All three periods of development extend from 1913 to 1918. Constructions during these periods were developed entirely within one plane.
The basis of construction was mainly the principle of economy, aimed at conveying the power of a static condition, or visible dynamic repose, by means of a single plane. If until now all forms whatsoever expressed this sensation of contact exclusively by means of a multiplicity of inter-relations of all sorts between the mutually linked forms involved in an organism, effectiveness within a single plane or column has now been achieved in Suprematism owing to an economic geometrical approach.
If every form is an expression of purely utilitarian perfection, then the Suprematist form is no more than the visible recognition of the effectiveness of utilitarian perfection in the coming concrete world. Form clearly points to the dynamic state of a situation and represents, as it were, a further pointer to an aircraft in space, not by means of engines, nor through the conquest of space by the explosive device of a clumsy machine of wholly catastrophic construction, but through the smooth harnessing of form to natural processes, through some magnetic interrelations within a single form, which will perhaps comprise all the natural forces inherent in these inter-relations and will therefore not require engines, wings, wheels and gasoline, because its body will not be constructed of diverse elements constituting one unit.
‘The Suprematist machine’, if one may call it so, will be integrated and without any joins whatsoever. A metal bar is a fusion of all elements, like the earth, and carries within itself a life of perfections, so that every Suprematist body constructed will be incorporated into a natural organization and form a new satellite: all that is necessary is to discover the inter-relationship between two bodies soaring in space.
The earth and the moon. Between them, a new Suprematist satellite can be constructed, equipped with every component, which will move along an orbit shaping its new track. Study of the Suprematist formula of movement leads us to conclude that rectilinear motion towards any planet can only be achieved by the circling of intermediary satellites,
which would provide a straight line of circles from one satellite to another. I discovered in the course of my work on Suprematism that its forms have nothing in common with the technology of the earth’s surface. All technical organisms are nothing but small satellites, a whole living world ready to fly away into space and take up a particular position. Indeed, every such satellite is in fact equipped with reason and prepared to live out its own personal life.
On the tremendous scale of planetary systems pulverization also took place, the separation of certain states which shaped an individual life for themselves, created a whole cosmogonic system and linked up amicably, so as to ensure life for themselves and put catastrophe away. In terms of abstraction, Suprematist forms have achieved utilitarian perfection.
They are no longer relevant to the earth, and they can be treated and studied like any planet or complete system. When I say that they are not relevant to the earth, this is not meant in the sense of a breakaway which would leave it stranded. I am merely foreshadowing the construction of prototypes for technological organisms in the Suprematist future.
They are conditioned by purely utilitarian necessity, a necessity which remains the link between them. The significance of every organism of utilitarian technology has the same object and intention. It seeks an opportunity to penetrate into the area which we see on a Suprematist canvas. What, in fact, is such a canvas and what is pictured on it?
If we analyse a canvas we primarily see in it a window through which we discern life. A Suprematist canvas is a representation of white - but not blue - space. The reason for this is clear: blue does not provide an actual representation of the infinite. It is as though the shafts of vision strike a dome and cannot penetrate into the infinite. Infinite Suprematist white enables the shaft of vision to advance without meeting a boundary.
We perceive moving bodies, but what their motion is, and their nature, is a matter for discovery. When I had invented this system, I set out to investigate the passing shapes, which ought to be disclosed and discovered by their whole essence, and they took their place among the things of the world, though their disclosure requires great labour. The construction of Suprematist forms in the coloured order is in no way conditioned by aesthetic necessity, in terms of colour or form and figure, as in the black or white periods.
The main thing in Suprematism - its two foundations - are the energies of the black and the white, which serve to reveal the effective forms, bearing in mind only the purely utilitarian need to reduce for the sake of economy. This is why the coloured order falls away. In creative works, the manifestation of colour or tone does not depend upon an aesthetic manifestation, but rather on the pedigree of the material, and the composition of the elements which combine to make a node or form of energy.
Now, if every shape or all genetic materials consist of energy which imparts colour to its movement, it follows that a mutation of materials and the formation of new combinations of energy and trace elements occur in endless creation. Every series of motions alters the appearance of form owing to considerations of economy, and the colouring will also change its appearance. As a form of energetic combination of materials the town has shed its colouring and has become tonal, with a predominance of black and white.
(However, a discussion of the problem of the movement of colour as energy would require the repetition of my research into light in 1917.)
I have mentioned that, in Suprematism, black and white serve as energy to disclose shape. This refers only to the principles governing the construction of three-dimensional Suprematist projects on a canvas, since this plays no part in actual tangible effect, because the revelation of form is the role of light, and in actual Suprematism only black and white remain. All degrees of energy in the material derive from them and, in other words, there will come a time for new materials devoid of colour and tone.
(I regard white and black as excluded from the colour spectrum.)
In the course of its historical development Suprematism had three stages: black, coloured and white. All the stages developed under the conventional signs of planes and thus could be said to describe the planes of future three-dimensional bodies.
And, indeed, Suprematism at a certain moment breaks through into the three-dimensional time of the new architectural constructions. Suprematism is defined in an earthly context... it alters the entire architecture of earthly things in the widest sense and links up with the space which holds the moving monolithic masses of the planetary system.
My research has led to the conclusion that Suprematism contains the idea of a new machine, in other words of a new organic engine without wheels, and without power derived from either steam or gasoline.
(This will require much substantiation.)
One of the foundations of Suprematism, in terms of experience and practice, is Natural Science, which makes it possible to overcome the world of books and replace it by experience and action, whereby all will share in universal creativity.
Suprematism’s attitude to materials is at the opposite of the growing campaign for a culture of the material. The appeal to aesthetic considerations in the processing of material surfaces is the psychosis of contemporary artists. They are concerned with the beauty of an organism’s feathers, instead of developing an image through the utilitarian perfection arising from economical necessity and interfering with the natural process of transforming and processing the image only where a technical - not an aesthetic - need exists.
The three squares of Suprematism stand for definite views of the world and ways of constructing it. Apart from the purely economic movement of forms in the whole new white system of world construction, the white square is also an impetus towards the foundation of world construction as ‘pure action’, as the recognition of oneself in the purely utilitarian perfection of ‘the complete man’. They have acquired further meanings in a social context: black as the mark of economy; red as the signal of the Revolution; and white as pure action.
The white square I painted enabled me to investigate it and produce a brochure about ‘pure action’.
The black square defined economy, which I introduced as the fifth proportion in art.
The question of economy has become my main point of reference. From it, I examine all the products of the world of objects, now my
main labour, done with the pen and no longer the brush. It has apparently turned out that one can achieve with the pen that of which the brush is not capable. Being dishevelled, it cannot reach into the circumvolutions of the brain, while the pen’s point is sharper.
It is a strange thing that three squares should point the way, while the white square is the bearer of the white world (world construction ) by imposing the mark of purity on human creative life. What an important part is played by colours as signals pointing the way!
There is still a great deal of argument to come about colours, and about the white and the black. These will culminate by way of red in white perfection.
(When I refer to white I am not talking about the political concept which has now become current.)
Furthermore, in terms of colour motion, the three squares point to the extinction of colour when it vanishes into white.
There can be no question of a place for painting in Suprematism. Painting has long since been overcome, and the painter himself is no more than a prejudice of the past.
These matters are substantiated in my booklet We, as the utilitarian perfection.
How all that was done was achieved, and what was achieved, and what results were produced by research cannot be expressed in the three pages put at my disposal. Having established definite plans for the Suprematist system, I am entrusting the further development of what is now architectural Suprematism to young architects in the broadest sense of the word, because I see it as the only possible system in an era of new architecture.
For my part, I have transferred myself to an area of thought new to me and will expound as well as I am able whatever I perceive in the infinite space of the human skull.
Long live the unified system of world architecture.
Long live the new creative and affirmative UNOVIS.
Vitebsk, 15 December 1920
Artwork in: http://newsfeed.kosmograd.com/kosmograd/art/ and