chapter  6
Becoming Revolutionary
On Russian Suprematism
WithBoris Groys
Pages 8

The central question that unavoidably dominates today's thinking and speaking about the Russian avant-garde is the question addressing the relationship between artistic revolution and political revolution. The political role of art is seen as being twofold: critique of the dominating political, economical, and art system, and mobilization of the audience toward the change of this system through a Utopian promise. One often speaks about the Russian revolutionary avant-garde meaning Russian avant-garde artistic practices of the 1920s. Russian avant-garde was the strongest possible medicine against any kind of compassion and nostalgia. The Black Square of Malevich was the most radical gesture of this acceptance. It announced the death of any cultural nostalgia, of any sentimental attachment to the culture of the past. A good example of Malevich's own anti-nostalgic attitude can be found in his short but important text "On the Museum," from 1919.