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Ilya Chashnik
Suprematist Composition, ca. 1922–24

Collage on card
35 x 26,3 cm

© Artist

Photo: Gallery Stolz


Ilya Chashnik was one of the central figures in the second generation of Suprematism and despite the brevity of his life he made a significant contribution to the development of the Russian avant-garde in the fields of art, design and architecture. From 1919 on he studied at the art school in Witebsk under Malevich. There he – together with El Lissitzky, who also taught at the school, and Nikolai Suetin – became involved in the group UNOVIS ("The champions of the new art") that formed around his teacher with the aim of spreading Suprematist ideas in everyday social life. Ilya Chashnik created designs for crockery and textiles, involved himself in book and poster design, and drafted utopian architectural projects.

This “Suprematist Composition” was done at a time when Ilya Chashnik was employed as Malevich’s scientific assistant at the St Petersburg Academy of the Arts. The relief consists of a stripe set on a diagonal made of red, white, black and yellow card, and flanked on both sides by black surfaces. A number of other similar works are known from the artist under the same title, in which the lateral surfaces are also sometimes in red or white. As a result of the way the stripes with their differing lengths and breadths point beyond the picture margin, they suggest a dynamism of the kind one sees when looking down at a busy street from above. This relief is an example of how Chashnik wished to see Suprematism develop. After surmounting the first stage, the "black" period of Suprematism, not simply single shapes but whole series of shapes were to be catapulted into a dynamic state.


Ilya Chashnik

1902 born in Ljuzi (LV) 
1929 died in Leningrad