Andrew Spira


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Reaktion Books
20 June 2022
ISBN: 9781789145359
208 pages

From the publisher

When Kasimir Malevich's Black Square was produced in 1915, no-one had ever seen anything like it before. And yet it does have precedents. In fact, over the previous 500 years, several painters, writers, philosophers, scientists and censors - each working independently towards an absolute statement of their own - alighted on the form of the black square or rectangle, as if for the first time. This book explores the resonances between Malevich's Black Square and its precursors, showing how a 'genealogical' thread binds them together into an intriguing, and sometimes quirky, sequence of modulations. Andrew Spira's book explores how each predecessor both 'foreshadows' Malevich's work and, paradoxically, throws light on it, revealing layers of meaning that are often overlooked but which are as relevant today as ever.