Lift Off

Lift Off has been created as a white-hot burst of ‘new’, primed in your pocket. It’s an inspiration to leap into a radical future. To cast off shackles and strike for freedom, for something better - a hope-charged marker for Lift Off.

The artwork on Lift Off is by Kazimir Malevich, an icon for the modern age. He had a profound influence on abstract art. His determination to liberate painting from ‘representation’ and being simply ‘aesthetic, never original or an end in itself’ was unsurpassed. He pushed beyond Cubism, beyond Picasso and Matisse, abandoning the depiction of reality altogether. This was underpinned by his own unique philosophy which he called Suprematism - it stated that art should transcend subject matter -- the truth of shape and color should reign 'supreme' over the image or narrative. 

The influence of his artworks and theoritical writing was widespread - significant amongst the Russian avant-garde, it spread with critical impact to Europe and America paving the way for later generations of significant abstract painters. 

William Channing’s words are an electric accompaniment to Malevich’s artwork. They now read as a prophetic manifesto for the intellectual, social and cultural developments of the 20th century.

Channing was the foremost Unitarian Preacher in the early 19th century US. Against a backdrop of fiercely guarded traditional thinking he gracefully propounded his liberal theological and social ideas.

An advocate for Anti-slavery, temperance, public education, pacifism, prison and labor reform, Channing espoused a gentle loving relationship with God, rejecting Calvinist doctrines of ‘total depravity’ (every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin as a result of their fallen nature)  and ‘divine election’ (only certain people are pre-chosen for eternal life).

Channing has been described as one of the spiritual forces of his time, and his watchwords are everywhere incorporated into life. A man of moral vision whose story ‘should be an inspiration to the thoughtful reader of 20th century America'. 

His words chime with Malevich’s Suprematist Composition and its striking, direct energy. Powerfully balanced, the solidity and confidence of the black squares are given thrust by the irregularity of their angles and offset by the warm, yellow orb. Even now in the 21st century it radiates a sense of forward motion, the future, new possibilities and new realms of action - of Lift Off…

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The Artwork

The Artist

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The Words

The Writer

When, in the year 1913, in my desperate attempt to free art from the ballast of objectivity, I took refuge in the square form and exhibited a picture which consisted of nothing more than a black square on a white field. The critics and, along with them, the public sighed, 'Everything which we loved was lost. We are in a desert.. .Before us is nothing but a black square on a white background!' But the desert is filled with the spirit of non-objective feeling.. ..which penetrates everything.In 'The Non-Objective World: The Manifesto of Suprematism', 1926

The rectangular picture-plane indicates the starting point of Suprematism; a new realism of color conceived as non-objective creation. The forms of Suprematist art live like all the living forms of nature. This is a new plastic realism, plastic precisely because the realism of hills, sky and water is missing. Every real form is a world. And any plastic surface is more alive than a (drawn or painted) face from which stares a pair of eyes and a smile. [1914]Quote of Malevich, cited in Artists on Art; from the 14th – 20th centurie

At the present time man's path lies through space, and Suprematism is a colour metaphor in its infinite abyss. [1916]Quote in 'On space and Suprematism', Kasimir Malevich, 1916

The square is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art. The square is a living, regal infant. The first step of pure creation in art.Quote in 'From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism: The New Realism in Painting', Kazimir Malevich, November 1916

Everywhere there is craft and technique, everywhere there is artistry and form. Art itself, technique, is ponderous and clumsy, and because of it awkwardness it obstructs that inner element.. .All craft, technique, and artistry, like anything beautiful, results in futility and vulgarity. [critical quote on Constructivism artists]In: 'On poetry'; as quoted in Futurism

It is the experience of the speed of a plane, which was looking for an expression, a form and this caused the plane to come into existence. The plane was not built to take letters from Berlin to Moscow, but to give expression to the irresistible urge to create a form for the experience of speed.As quoted in: Richtingen in de hedendaagsche schilderkunst (Trends in the Present Day Art of Painting)

I paint energy, not the soul.Quote of Malevich, 1924, in: 'Khudozhniki na dispute ob AKhRR', in 'Zhizn,' iskusstva 6 (transl. Todd Bludeau); as quoted by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde,

When, in the year 1913, in my desperate attempt to free art from the ballast of objectivity, I took refuge in the square form and exhibited a picture which consisted of nothing more than a black square on a white field. The critics and, along with them, the public sighed, 'Everything which we loved was lost. We are in a desert.. .Before us is nothing but a black square on a white background!' But the desert is filled with the spirit of non-objective feeling.. ..which penetrates everything.In 'The Non-Objective World: The Manifesto of Suprematism', 1926

The representation of an object, in itself (the objectivity as the aim of the representation), is something that has nothing to do with art, although the use of representation in a work of art does not rule out the possibility of its being of a high artistic order. For the Suprematist, therefore, the proper means is the one that provides the fullest expression of pure feeling and ignores the habitually accepted object. The object in itself is meaningless to him; and the ideas of the conscious mind are worthless. Feeling is the decisive factor.. ..and thus art arrives at non-objective representation – at Suprematism.Quote of Malevich, 1927 in Artists on Art; from the 14th – 20th centuries

I too was filled with a sort of shyness and fear, as I was called to leave 'the world of will and idea' in which I had lived and created, and in whose reality I had believed. But the happy liberating touch of non-objectivity drew me out into the 'desert' where only feeling is real.. ..and so feeling became the content of my life. It was no 'empty square' I had exhibited but the feeling of non-objectivity. I perceived that the 'thing' and the 'idea' were taken to be equivalents of feeling, and understood the lie of the world of will and idea. Is the milk bottle the symbol of milk? Suprematism is the rediscovery of that pure art which in the course of time, and by an accretion of 'things', had been lost to sight.As quoted in Artists on Art; from the 14th – 20th centuries

The principal element of Suprematism in painting, as in architecture, is its liberation from all social or materialist tendencies. Through Suprematism, art comes into its pure and unpolluted form. It has acknowledged the decisive fact of the nonobjective character of sensibility. It is no longer concerned with illusion.As quoted in Marc Chagall, – a Biography, Sidney Alexander,

For us [the young artists in Vitebsk, 1920] Suprematism did not signify the recognition of an absolute form which was part of an already completed universal system, on the contrary; here stood revealed for the first time in all its purity the clear sign and plan for a definite new world never before experienced - a world which issues forth from our inner being and which is only now in the first stages of its formation, for this reason the square [Malevich'sBlack and Red Square] of suprematism became a beacon.Quote of El Lissitzky, from his essay of 1920, 'Suprematism in World Reconstruction'; as cited by Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers, in El Lissitzky: Life, Letters, Texts,

"Art does not need us, and it never did"

“Reading is the royal road to intellectual eminence...Truly good books are more than mines to those who can understand them. They are the breathings of the great souls of past times. Genius is not embalmed in them, but lives in them perpetually.”

To live content with small means. 
To seek elegance rather than luxury, 
    and refinement rather than fashion. 
To be worthy not respectable, 
    and wealthy not rich. 
"To study hard, think quietly, talk gently, 
    act frankly, to listen to stars, birds, babes, 
    and sages with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, 
    do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. 
In a word, to let the spiritual, 
    unbidden and unconscious, 
    grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony"

My Sympathy

“May your life preach more loudly than your lips.” 
― 

“It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours.” 
― 

“I laugh, for hope hath a happy place with me; If my boat sinks, 'tis to another sea.” 
From: A Poet's Hope

“It has often been observed, that those who have the most time at their disposal profit by it the least. A single hour a day, steadily given to the study of some interesting subject, brings unexpected accumulations of knowledge.”

“The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could hardly be propagated.” 
― 

“To me it seems that the soul, in all its higher actions, in original thought, in the creations of genius, in the soarings of imagination, in its love of beauty and grandeur, in its aspirations after a pure and unknown joy, and especially in disinterestedness, in the spirit of self-sacrifice, and in enlightened devotion, has a character of infinity.” 

“god be thanked for books. they are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of the past ages” 
― 

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