16 March 2007

Olga Rozanova

Back on 7 March, I said that I'd returned to my old text books, searching for women. Same story here, but in a different book. Nearly 200 pages into Art in Theory, you'll find Olga Rozanova's 'The Bases of New Creation' from 1913. Here is one of her paintings from the same year.

In 'The Bases of New Creation', she wrote:

A servile repetition of nature's models can never express all her fullness.
It is time, at long last to acknowledge this and to delcare frankly, once and for all, that other ways, other methods of expressing the World are needed.

What is she talking about? A lot of things probably, Abstraction chief among them. Five years earlier, Picasso and Braque had begun their cubist experimentation. But even in 1913, Rozanova's was a bold proclamation. Over the years, she was associated with a number of movements and groups. She is best remembered as a Suprematist, a super-modern artistic revolution in Russian, with among other things, total abstraction as an aim. Rozanova's essay proves her committment to the main ideals of this movement well before it had taken shape. She and one other woman, Kseniya Boguslavskaya, were important enough in this movement to be mentioned by name in their earliest publication (1915) among aritists who "had led the struggle for the freedom of objects from the obligations of art".

Rozanova died in 1918. A picture that she made the year of her death shows nothing but a verticle green stripe. She was 32, and like all artists that die young there is lots of specuation about what she might have done if she had lived longer.


Vatti said...

Amazing. As a scientist it is initially hard to understand why a faithful replication of nature would not express its fullness, since that is what science seeks to do. Now, if I wanted to represent or communicate love, faith, or quantum theory... Are the abstractionists trying to express that there is something essential but non-apparent like quantum theory lurking behind everything we see?

Dad said...

I have often wondered if people mean only what the words they said actually mean or if there is more to it than just the actual word's meaning. I think the smarter ones are sometimes playing with us to see where we will take something that they really had no intention of taking us to. They just wanted to see where we would go.

Mary Ann said...

Vatti, I think abstraction gets at representing the stuff about the world that isn't visual, or the difference between cold-hard-reality and the way it looks in our heads as we think about it. The two diverge differently for each of us, and so yes, there's something essential, but that something is unique to each of us.