Kazimir Malevich and Lazar Khidekel: the Vitebsk Years (1919-1922)



Belarus', Vitebsk, Lazar Khidekel, Kazimir Malevich, Architecture, Suprematism, UNOVIS


In February 2020, Belarus celebrated the centenary of the birth of the Avant-garde art group UNOVIS (“Assertors of New Art”), created in Vitebsk on the initiative of Kazimir Malevich in the Art School founded by Marc Chagall after the October Revolution, with two exhibitions and a conference, in Vitebsk and in Minsk. The event was undoubtedly an opportunity to deepen an important chapter in the history of Twentieth century art that had its origin in Belarus. Many unpublished materials opened new research perspectives. In particular, Lazar Khidekel’s solo exhibition at the National Art Museum in Minsk, They will understand us in 100 years. Lazar Khidekel, allowed to shed a new light not only on Khidekel’s work but also on the teaching of Kazimir Malevich in Vitebsk and on the relationship with his students. If Malevich was one of Khidekel’s masters, Khidekel was not only a pupil, but a privileged interlocutor, the only one of his students who became an architect. There has been a continuous constructive dialogue between them over the years, and if Malevich’s influence on Khidekel’s path is evident, there is also no doubt about the influence of the collective work of UNOVIS on the Architectons that Malevich will build later in Petrograd, but which have their origin in the Vitebsk School.