domingo, 5 de maio de 2013
Vladimir Tatlin: "The Head of the Universe. Time and Space" by V. Khlebnikov
The area of the earth measures 510,051,300 square kilometres. The surface area of a blood corpuscle, that citizen and star of man’s Milky Way, measures 0.000,128 square millimetres. A treaty has been concluded between the citizen of heaven and the citizen of the body. This is its substance: the area of the terrestrial star divided by the area of the blood corpuscle starlet, produces 365 to the power of 10 (36510), a splendid concordance of two worlds, the right of man to have pride of place on earth. This is the first article of the treaty between the government of blood corpuscles and the government of celestial spheres. The two-legged live Milky Way and its starlet have concluded a 365-fold union with the Milky Way in the sky and its great starry earth. The dead and the live Milky Way have here affixed their signatures as two legal persons with equal rights.
Suprematism has blossomed out in splendid colour all over Moscow.
What was Suprematism? A creative invention without a doubt but an invention strictly confined to painting. It might be said that Suprematism had welded all the painting of the past into a single ring and by this very fact absorbed all the shortcomings (as well as the merits) of painting through the ages. Tatlin, one of the most powerful and certainly the purist among our artists, has defined Suprematism as simply the sum of past errors and from Tatlin’s point of view this is undoubtedly true, logical and accurate.
Suprematism has sucked from the world history of art every drop of the painting that was in it and organized it in accordance with its elements. At the same time, it has subjected this painting to a process of abstraction and deprived it of its body, its substance and its raison d’être. That is why Suprematism is not grand art, that is why it is so easy to apply in textiles, in the decoration of a café, in fashion drawings and so forth. Suprematism is an invention which should have a tremendous importance in application, but that is by no means art. Suprematism has not yielded a form. What is more, it is poles apart from form, the underlying principle of the new art era. There is no way out of Suprematism. It is a closed concentric formation where all the roads of the world’s painting have met in order to peter out.
At a time when Moscow celebrates its great Suprematist holiday in this fashion, another master of Moscow’s art world lives in silence, superficially recognized, but until now remote from the area where great effects are created - V. Tatlin. There are no visible changes in the output of this artist. Evil-minded fools interpret this as evidence of stagnation, decay and death. If fate had endowed this gentry with a little more artistic sensitivity they would grasp what such ‘stagnation’ betokens. There was a time when Cézanne stagnated at Arles, surpassed by the likes of Van Gogh; we now know the significance of that Stagnation in Arles.
The art of Tatlin - in the terms in which this concept has usually applied throughout our artistic past - is not art, but rather ‘figurative business’, as he himself describes it. By means of this figurative business, Tatlin has presented the world with a new form. This new form, the raised type of relief, is diametrically opposite to all that has gone before. It has escaped beyond the confines of painting as such and represents instead a cloud of arrows flying into the future, without a backward look.
And, meanwhile, Tatlin lives and is good-humoured and happy by himself, like a giant.
As you can see, there are in fact no groups. Or rather, to be more accurate, there is a group around Suprematism. But however lonely Tatlin maybe, some sporadic forces do haunt his neighbourhood. And even if the army of artists does not follow him, all or some do recognize, in a blind sort of way, his power and they watch him out of the corners of their eyes. Be that as it may, one hears two names in Moscow worth serious discussion: Suprematism and Tatlin.
From the periodical Iskusstvo kommuny, No. 10,
9 February 1919