Go See – Berlin: Kazimir Malevich ‘Autobiography’ at the Galerija Gregor Podnar, through September 19, 2009

August 31st, 2009

Malevich_exhibition view
View of the exhibition Kazimir Malevich ‘Autobiography’ via Galerija Gregor Podnar

Kazimir Malevich’s ‘Autobiography’ is a documentary exhibition that traces the work of one of the most important artists of the 20th century until his death and after. We should not see the artifacts at this exhibition as works of art. Rather they are souvenirs, selected specimens of our collective memory.

-Walter Benjamin

Currently on view at the Galerija Gregor Podnar in Berlin is a show on Malevich’s art titled ‘Autobiography.’  However, it should be noted, that despite the press that the show has received that doesn’t seem to acknowledge the true nature of the exhibit, the works presented are only reproductions of Malevich’s Suprematist art.  They reveal the artist and his life and the way in which his art was perceived as a symbol of spiritual creativity as well as being material product for the art market. The exhibit is “several exhibits in one” as stated by a representative of the Berlin gallery. An artist, who does not wish to reveal his name, actually calls himself Malevich, and has traced Kazimir Malevich’s artistic path not only in reproducing his works, but also following his ideology.

Kazimir Malevich ‘Autobiography’ [Exhibition Page]
Kazimir Malevich ‘Autobiography’ [Artnet]
Artefacts of Malevich [Artslant]
Kazimir Malevich: Autobiography [Saatchi]

More text and pictures after the jump…

Malevich_exhibition view 2
View of the exhibition Kazimir Malevich ‘Autobiography’ via Galerija Gregor Podnar

After his career in the Soviet Union, the original Malevich’ work made an appearance again in 1986 in Ljubljana with an installation of ‘The Last Futurist Show.’ The exhibition was under anonymous authorship but the works were nothing other than the famed Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist paintings.  Today, in the Berlin branch of Galerija Gregor Podnar, a gallery that, appropriately, started in Liubjana, an anonymous artist, calling himself Malevich, recreates most of Kazimir Malevich’s key works.  The show is curated in a style similar to the way Malevich hung his works in his studio.  It is consequential then, that the exhibit’s press release starts with a quote by Walter Benjamin, whose essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” since its conception in 1935 has become one of the most important writings in art theory of 20th century. Walter Benjamin’s term “aura” used to describe the work that is perceived as authentic therefore containing somewhat a magical or ritualistic value, is actually taken into consideration. Although, not “authentic” the reproductions presented by Galerija Gregor Podnar were not straightforwardly publicized as such. Hence, one of the conditions of the presence of an “aura” is contained in the illusion of authenticity.

Malevich_exhibition view 3
View of the exhibition Kazimir Malevich ‘Autobiography’ via Galerija Gregor Podnar

Malevich’s works were first seen as examples of negative ‘bourgeois formalist’ in his Russian homeland, nevertheless such work were celebrated in the Western world. Alfred H. Barr, then Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, had served as a patron of Malevich and had made a great purchase of the artist’s work in 1935. In 2008 Kazimir Malevich’s work was sold for a record price of $60 million in an auction conducted by Sotheby’s. Over the course of the twentieth-century Malevich became an icon of modern art and led the way in establishing a canon for the way in which art can be perceived.

Malevich_exhibition view 4
View of the exhibition Kazimir Malevich ‘Autobiography’ via Galerija Gregor Podnar

Malevich_exhibition view 5

View of the exhibition Kazimir Malevich ‘Autobiography’ via Galerija Gregor Podnar