Naïve manner, ornamental elements – by large abstract, text incorporation, intense colours, tight compositions, characteristic of Russian folklore art, interested Russian artists in the beginning of the XXth century both in terms of aesthetics and the ideological, spiritual power behind the image.
Malevich, for example, acknowledged a significant influence of rich peasant colours as well as primitive forms of traditional icons on his practice, which also made him realise the importance of gaining the “intuition of the nature of art and artistic realism” over mastering anatomy and perspective. (Neret, 2003, pp. 21-22)
Taking into account the constantly changing political situation in Russia in the beginning of the XXth century, it is no wonder that the new kind of art, as revolutionary, as perhaps the minds of Russian people at the time, developed very rapidly and evolved into numerous different trends and movements. “In the hungry Russia of the time, ravaged by revolution and civil war, people were inventing new creative concepts and materials, planning hitherto unimagined towns, perfecting theories for the reform of all human life by means of art, forging the material forms of the world of the future.” (Golomoshtok & Glezer, 1977, p. 83)
Not less of a shock for a traditionally very religious nation in the end of the XIXth and beginning of the XXth century were the changes in spiritual life, with religion being relegated to the margins of the historical process. Marx speaks of the end of religious critique; Nietzsche declares the death of God. The new Communist regime officially forbids religion, burns churches. People have no choice but search for an alternative, or preserve religion but as a private affair. (Mamonov, 2007-2014)
Under such circumstances individualism in all creative spheres is becoming more and more prominent: “When religion, science and morality are shaken … and when the outer supports threaten to fall, man turns his gaze from externals in on to himself.” (Kandinsky, 2015, p. 41).
Many of these features: elements of folklore, religious and spiritual search, individualism, eclecticism, will remain very important in the Russian art, creating a truly unique artistic phenomenon.
However the most apparent breakthrough, mostly evidenced by the history of modern art, was probably the break with representational object, when in 1915 Kazimir Malevich formulated his idea of non-objective art and showed his “Black Square” (figure 3) during the “0,10 Exhibition”, along a series of Suprematist works.