Aleksei Gan, “Notes on Kazimir Malevich” (1927)
Extracts from SA, 1927 (no. 3, pgs. 104-106):
During recent years comrade Malevich has worked exclusively in the field of volumetric Suprematist compositions, on problems of the volumetric and spatial forms of material masses. This is somewhat related to the tasks facing creators of contemporary architecture.
Malevich works intuitively…His experience is not organized by consciousness…So while volumetric Suprematism does not yield objects of that concrete social utility without which contemporary architecture is not architecture at all, they have vast importance as abstract research of new form, as such.
Kazimir Malevich does not accept either [Rationalism or Constructivism]. He pursues his own ‘purely suprematist’ path, on the principle of its ‘primacy’ or ‘superiority’ [pervenstvo]. What then is Suprematist architecture? It is ‘the primacy of volumetric masses and their spatial solution in consideration of weight, speed, and direction of movement.’
True, this metaphysical formulation does not yield much, to put it mildly, to an intellect thinking materialistically. But Malevich does not only speak, he does, and what Malevich does, we repeat, has great psychological importance. In his new Suprematist volumes and volumetric combinations there is not the smallest particle of atavism.
This is where Suprematist studies can be very important. They could be very beneficially introduced into the Basic Course of the VKhUTEMAS, in parallel to those exercises currently conducted under the influence of the psychologist Münsterberg’s Harvard Laboratory.
The novelty, purity, and originality of abstract Suprematism fosters a new psychology of perception. This is where Malevich’s great contribution will lie.