Bodily-Affective Aspects of Phenomen in Malevich’s Suprematism

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The study addresses some aspects of Suprematist theory of perception, allowing to investigate the structure of Suprematist phenomenon in the context of ontology, socio-political and religious-mystical works of K. Malevich. The aim of the paper is to present Malevich’s theory of perception in the framework of enactivism. Namely, the article focuses on the theory of social affordances, which today is widely used in design, game development and other everyday practices. The author refers to Malevich’s theoretical and sociopolitical essays, as well as to the commentary literature. Although Suprematism represents a well-researched tradition in art theory, the author stress the need for a follow-up study of Malevich’s theoretical essays in the contemporary context of philosophy of consciousness. The author also emphasizes the relevance of Suprematist philosophy for today’s way of thinking. For the most authentic presentation of Malevich’s ideas I use the phenomenological and hermeneutical method on a par with elements of the ecological approach in psychology and enactivism in the philosophy of consciousness. Consequently, the theory of affordances an effective and natural unification of all the aspects discussed above. The study shows the affinity of Malevich’s ideas to this theory. The author focused on the thesis of feeling as the goal of the expressive act of art. As one could see, Kazemir Malevich always emphasized the bodily-affective dimension of art, and in this sense he participated in a global cultural-historical shift in our conception of the essence of art. Since then, art has ceased to be elitist, but has instead inherited everyday practices. Thus, Malevich speaks of a new art that suits the man of the new world, the Soviet citizen. In this context, I relate the idea of affordance, which means the creation of a feeling-opportunity for subjective action (agency), to the artistic act whose goal, according to Malevich, is the creation of an emotional body-affective feeling. I defend the theory of social affordances, explaining the mechanism of social interaction, as the most adequate model for explaining Suprematism. As a result, based on the already developed concept of bodily-affective dynamics, I show how visionary and creative Malevich was, and how his ideas contribute to the development of a theory of social, emotional affordances.

About the authors

Anna A. Khakhalova

Sociological Institute of the RAS

Author for correspondence.
Candidate in Philosophy, Researcher 25 7-ja Krasnoarmejskaja St., 190005, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation


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