Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Poem | Black

Kasimir Malevich, Black Square (1913)


Black, a colour so sure it asks no questions of itself,
and provides no answers.
Solidity, he reminds me of black
Night sky, take for instance the raven
So sure and unnerved by any action
Steady gaze holds you to contempt.
Beauty that only lies in eyes of
those few who don’t fear it.
Why is all fear epitomised in black?
 I ask
Maybe to find refuge you need to disappear
And all can be absorbed into no other but black
And so it is ultimately all you fear.
As silk it denotes all you feel, just as smooth
It wraps you up in the unreal
just to find that you can no longer comply
to the rules that it outlines.
Subjected to centuries of misuse,
It’s really quite beautiful but far too abused
Like everything else that that is so undeniably there.
Whether you like it or not
Its power you dare
not demystify.
 It will only unravel you
in its all 
and nothingness.

Reshma Krishnan

 A quick note on Kazimir Malevich's Black Square

This was my first interaction with abstract art. I had to analyze it for  my Visual Analysis of Art course and found myself completely flummoxed. I was always more the Caravaggio type; deep religious paintings with contrasts of light and dark that I could easily explain with my provided glossary of terms. I had no idea how to deal with this black square that a five year old could have painted and had been called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. So I stared at it on a high quality microfiche that doubled up as the real thing for about half an hour with a blank piece of paper in front of me- the actual painting is housed at the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg. I handed in a paper bordering on crap that rewrote study material I'd found on Suprematism.and managed to walk away with a C. Years later, I found myself mulling over this image and wrote this poem. I still don't understand Suprematism but I believe that it's essentially reducing something to nothingness so that it makes you focus on what you feel inside. Or some such thing. I felt this. I cannot wait to see the real thing. 


  1. lovely poem, Reshma. I see black in a different light now.

  2. Impressive Krishnan!!! Very.

    Yes, it is a lovely poem.

  3. Sach! How on earth did you find this? Thank you very much.



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