Tate Etc

Barbad Golshiri on Malevich

When Tate Etc. invited a selection of artists from around the world to write about how Kazimir Malevich has inspired or influenced their work, we were not expecting the range of voices to be so richly varied and geographically diverse. Here, Iranian artist Barbad Golshiri discusses the influence of Malevich and The Black Square 1915

I have made several works based on Malevich. One of these is called Quod 2010, which features words in Persian of the prison memories of A’ezam, a political prisoner of the 1980s, retold by Akbar Sardouzami. Quod is a rectangular diminishing spiral, and, unlike exotic and commodified calligraphies, is deeply rooted in the unique experience of reading it - which in itself stimulates nausea.

A’ezam has been degraded and tortured, living in timelessness and facelessness. She has nothing, and has turned to nothing, she says. Then one day she finds a rusty pin in her solitary confinement. She starts to draw squares, and the squares become her world: ‘Then I saw if I draw a square within another square and reach the depth, the square turns to a point. The cell was too dark, but I could see a point in the middle of the square that helplessly looked up at me and said: you should testify that I’ve been a square. You are the only one who knows that I have been and still am a square.’