Ian Hamilton Finlay

Homage to Malevich

1978

Medium
Screenprint on paper
Dimensions
Image: 251 x 251 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1983
Reference
P07925

Display caption

The abstract shapes in this print are derived from the paintings of the early twentieth-century Russian artist Kasimir Malevich, one of the pioneers of abstract painting. By adding a plume-like tail to one of the crosses, Finlay transforms it into the image of a fighter plane, shot down in flames. Finlay has said that Malevich would have seen himself as ‘the best aeroplane’, and that the victim in the dog-fight might be Vladimir Tatlin, a rival Soviet artist.

Gallery label, April 2005

Catalogue entry

P07925 Homage to Malevich 1978

Screenprint 9 7/8 × 9 7/8 (251 × 251) on paper 10 7/8 × 10 7/8 (277 × 277), printed at Girdwood and published by the Wild Hawthorn Press in an edition of 300
Inscribed ‘Ian Hamilton Finlay’ and ‘118’ on folder
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1983

This image refers to Malevich's own images of abstractions such as wireless waves or flying shapes. The artist, in conversation with the compiler, said that Malevich obviously pictured himself as ‘the best aeroplane’ and that the victim in the dog-fight might be the artist's rival Tatlin. Malevich's own writings make it clear that his abstractions are representations and not pure abstractions, though his commentators overlook this.

This and the following entries [P07625-P07634 and P07645-P07647] have all been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986