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REISS CULTURE: MEETING MALEVICH

18.09.14

Fresh from showing the most popular exhibition in its history (a riotous exploration of cut outs from that master of modern art, Henri Matisse) the team at the Tate Modern offer up yet another blockbuster exhibition. This time the country's most celebrated modern art venue plays host to an unprecedented assembly of work from the father of the Suprematist movement, Kazimir Malevich. Inspired by the parallels between the master painter's work and the thematic undercurrent of bold, abstract colour in our menswear and womenswear AW14 collections, we visited the exhibition in order to understand the formation of these movement-defining works.

Born to Polish parents in Kiev in 1879, Kazmir Malevich's name was destined to become inextricably synonymous with the spearheading of a revolutionary art movement.

To many, Malevich's artistic work is considered to be a reactionary product of the very landscape that shaped him. Spending his formative years under the rule of Tsar Nicholas II, Malevich's pieces more than occasionally bear the themes of political rebellion and social revolution.

Though earlier work concentrates on traditional artistic themes of the time (agriculture, workers, religious scenes) tangible objects of the actual world are gradually usurped by artistic abstraction, and this distinction in approach is keenly felt in the retrospective's curation.

Malevich's novel approach to painting (Suprematism as it later became known) is noted for its simple geographic shapes which are rendered in a limited colour palette. The movement derives its name from the so called supremacy of artistic feeling over visual depiction of material objects. Thus, Suprematism's artistic merit is said to lie in its ability to convey meaning and emotion through composition and form.

It is this rich and sumptuous use of shape and colour which spoke to the Reiss AW14 design ethos. A significant strain of our latest collection uses graphic, architectural silhouettes - alongside the use of stark colour combinations and geometric shape - to impart our aesthetic vision for the season.

During the coming weeks, we'll be revisiting Malevich's works and understanding how this master of modern art not only permeated the art world's consciousness, but how his abstract works shaped the course of aesthetic culture and fashion design. And, more specifically exploring how his artistic sensibility resonates through our current menswear and womenswear collections.

'Malevich’, Tate Modern, London, until October the 26. Tate.org.uk

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