Malevich: Room guide

Kazimir Malevich was at the forefront of one of the most extraordinary avant-garde movements of the twentieth century. Over a decade or so, a generation of Russian artists created some of the most innovative and astonishing works of their time. The most legendary of these was Malevich’s Black Square, a painting whose uncompromising power has inspired and unsettled viewers for almost a hundred years. 

Originating in a unique collaboration between the Stedelijk Museum and the Khardzhiev Foundation in Amsterdam, and the Costakis Collection in Thessaloniki, and involving an unprecedented number of international lenders, this exhibition follows Malevich’s remarkable trajectory. It traces his early development, the collaboration with poets and musicians that led to his conception of a purely abstract art, and the 0.10 exhibition at which he launched what he came to call suprematism. It explores his career after the Revolution as a teacher, his architectural designs, his involvement in the collective UNOVIS, and his return to painting in Stalin’s Russia. 

Malevich’s career as an artist spanned an era of political upheaval that transformed Russia. When he started painting, Russia was an autocratic state ruled by Tsar Nicholas II. Eighty percent of the population were classed as peasants. While some modernisers looked to Europe to create an industrialised, more democratic society, others insisted on finding a more authentically Russian path. In 1905, the massacre of a group of demonstrators in St Petersburg provoked a violent series of revolts. Malevich himself described taking part in the Moscow uprising. The 1905 Revolution led to limited constitutional reforms, including the establishment of a parliament. But underlying tensions remained, which would soon reach breaking point.

Malevich Room 1

Room 1 guide for Tate Modern's retrospective on abstract artist Kazimir Malevich, looking at the beginning of his painting ...

Malevich Room 2

Room 2 of room guide for Tate Modern's Malevich retrospective, looking at his artist career in Russia and his ...

Malevich Room 3

Room 3 of room guide for Malevich's retrospective at Tate Modern. This room focuses on Malevich's take on ...

Malevich Room 4

Room 4 of room guide for Malevich's retrospective at Tate Modern. This room focuses on painting, poetry, theatre and ...

Malevich Room 5

Room 5 guide for Tate Modern's retrospective on abstract artist Kazimir Malevich, looks at his most famous works, the ...

Malevich Room 6

Room 6 guide for Tate Modern's retrospective on abstract artist Kazimir Malevich, this room focuses on the group exhibition ...

Malevich Room 7

Room 7 of room guide for Tate Modern's Malevich retrospective, looking at Malevich's attention to suprematism and colour

Malevich Room 8

Room 8 guide for Tate Modern's retrospective on abstract artist Kazimir Malevich, looking at his gradual dissolution of painting ...

Malevich Room 9

Room 9 guide for Tate Modern's retrospective on abstract artist Kazimir Malevich, looking at his teaching role during the ...

Malevich Room 10

Room 10 guide for Tate Modern's retrospective on abstract artist Kazimir Malevich, looking at his works on paper

Malevich Room 11

Room 11 guide for Tate Modern's retrospective on abstract artist Kazimir Malevich, looking at when Malevich takes up painting ...

Malevich Room 12

Room 12 guide for Tate Modern's retrospective on abstract artist Kazimir Malevich, looking at Malevich's late paintings from ...