A hundred years on, what once – in an emphatic gesture – assumed the place allocated to an icon has long since itself become an icon. When first presented on 7 December 1915 in the Dobytčina Gallery in Petrograd, Malevich’s ‘Black Square’ (on a white background) took over the position which, in a traditional Russian house, is reserved for a religious icon.

Concerning this event, Malevich is quoted as follows: “When in 1913, I was trying desperately to free art from the dead weight of things, I exhibited a picture that was nothing but a black square on a white field … What I exhibited was not an empty square, but rather the feeling of non-objectivity.” The fact that underneath (that is, under the visible picture surface) there is now presumed to be a further picture is something that could have been foreseen. For the appearance it is first and foremost the surface that is relevant – and only partially the quality of the bearer material. And multiple layering, after all, is always given, but the desire and will is for compaction and clarity.

Foto: Fanny Harlan
Styling: Pauline Czerwinka
Make Up: Amelie Goldstaub
Video: Antje Engelmann
Soundcollage: Daniel Matz