Kazimir Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde

Kazimir Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Left: Kazimir Malevich, Mystic Suprematism (red cross on black circle), 1920–1922. Oil on canvas, 72.5 × 51 cm. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, ownership recognized by agreement with the estate of Kazimir Malevich in 2008. Right: Kazimir Malevich, Standing Cubist Figure Seen from Behind, 1913. Pencil and black wax crayon on paper, 67.3 × 39.4 cm. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, on loan from the Khardzhiev Foundation.

October 16, 2013

Kazimir Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde: Featuring selections from the Khardzhiev and Costakis Collections
October 19, 2013—February 2, 2014

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Museumplein 10
The Netherlands


The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents Kazimir Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde, the largest survey in twenty years devoted to the work of the pioneering artist, influential teacher and passionate advocate of the new art. The exhibition brings together for the first time the exceptional collections of Nikolai Khardzhiev (via the Khardzhiev Foundation under the stewardship of the Stedelijk) and Georges Costakis (housed by the State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki) and combines them with the Stedelijk’s own holdings of Malevich’s work, which is the largest collection outside of Russia. Featuring some 500 works, the exhibition pays tribute to Malevich while placing him within the context of his contemporaries.

Although best known for his purely abstract work, Malevich (1879–1935) was inspired by diverse movements of his day, including Impressionism, Symbolism, Fauvism, and Cubism. His visual language was also influenced by Russian icon painting and folk art. Through oil paintings, gouaches, drawings, and sculptures, the exhibition traces the rich variety of his oeuvre. All the phases in Malevich’s career will be on view, from his Impressionist period to his iconic Suprematist phase—his Black Square was its most radical consequence—to the lesser-known figurative works that followed. 

The Stedelijk was the first museum outside of Russia to present Malevich’s Suprematism, which it did ninety years ago in The Russian Show. The present exhibition is the Stedelijk’s first major retrospective dedicated to a key figure from its collection since the museum’s reopening in 2012.

Other artists whose works are included in the exhibition are Marc Chagall, Ilia Chashnik, Boris Ender, Ksenia Ender, Maria Ender, Yurii Ender, Natalia Goncharova, Wassily Kandinsky, Ivan Kyun, Mikhail Larionov, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Mikhail Matyushin, Mikhail Menkov, Vera Pestel, Lyubov Popova, Ivan Puni, Alexander Rodchenko, Olga Rozanova, Nikolai Suetin, Vladimir Tatlin and Nadezhda Udaltsova.

Public programs in conjunction with the exhibition include performances on October 17 and 19 of Victory over the Sun by experimental opera-maker Sjaron Minailo, a contemporary response to the legendary 1913 opera Victory over the Sun by Aleksei Kruchenykh, Mikhail Matiushin and Kazimir Malevich (schedule here). On October 23, from 1:30 to 5pm, the Stedelijk will present a symposium titled “Collection Transfer: Works of Art in Private Collections and Their Route to Public Ownership,” taking the history of the Khardziev Collection as its point of departure. On November 24, from 7:30 to 9:30pm, the Stedelijk will offer a film program titled Malevich and the Avant-Gardes, presenting historical material from the collection of Amsterdam’s EYE Film Institute and from its own collection of contemporary film and video. Throughout the course of the exhibition, the Stedelijk will also offer gallery talks every Friday at 2pm.

Kazimir Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde is organized for the Stedelijk by curators Geurt Imanse and Bart Rutten. The exhibition is co-produced with the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundeskunsthalle), Bonn and Tate Modern, London, to which it will travel in 2014. Each venue explores Malevich’s career from distinctive vantage points. Seen in their totality, these exhibitions provide an unprecedented opportunity to reassess one of the defining figures of twentieth-century modernism.

In conjunction with the Khardzhiev Foundation, the Stedelijk has published the first comprehensive catalogue of the Khardzhiev Collection, based on extensive research by Geurt Imanse and Frank van Lamoen (ca. 552 pp., nai010 publishers, design: Beukers/Scholma). A catalogue of the exhibition is also available (240 pp., Walther König Verlag, design: Mevis & Van Deursen).

The exhibition is made possible with the generous support of principal benefactor Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, the Blockbusterfonds, and additional support from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, K.F. Hein Fonds, and the Wilhelmina E. Jansen Fonds. 

The Stedelijk Museum expresses its sincere thanks to principal sponsor Rabobank Amsterdam for making this exhibition possible in Amsterdam.

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Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
October 16, 2013

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