Precedents of the Unprecedented: Black Squares Before Malevich

Described by Kasimir Malevich as the “first step of pure creation in art”, his Black Square of 1915 has been cast as a total break from all that came before it. Yet searching across more than five hundred years of images related to mourning, humour, politics, and philosophy, Andrew Spira uncovers a slew of unlikely foreshadows to Malevich's radical abstraction. more

The Public Domain Review is dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas – focusing on works now fallen into the public domain, the vast commons of out-of-copyright material that everyone is free to enjoy, share, and build upon without restrictions.

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Conjectures

The Encyclopedia of Light

The Encyclopedia of Light

In the affecting work of sensory history, Peter Schmidt uses the “strikethrough” as a kind of shadow-writing: his “Encyclopedia of Light” reveals little dark threads of undoing — marks of the second thought that endlessly cancels the first. more

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