This talk attempts to think through three discoveries: the Russian artist Kasimir Malevich’s arrival at Black Square, the so-called “zero of form” in 1915; the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark’s nomination and narration of a line of empty space in her 1954 painting Discovery of the Organic Line, which cites Black Square; and the 2015 revelation that the earlier painting contains an inscription, “Battle of Negroes…”, which suggests that aesthetic and racial ontologies of blackness were linked from the start. In constellating these events, I hope to suggest how the multi-temporal and real-time tenses of the contemporary might allow us to recover, dis-cover, a paradigm of discovery against invention, thereby rearticulating the stakes of the modernist inheritance for the present.
This event will take place on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 as a live Webinar at 6:15pm ET (New York time). To register as an attendee, please click here. Only registered attendees will be able to access this event.
Irene V. Small is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art & Criticism in the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University, where she is also affiliated with the programs in Media & Modernity and Latin American Studies. She is the author of Hélio Oiticica: Folding the Frame (University of Chicago Press, 2016), and has written for October, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, ARTMargins, Artforum, and Texte zur Kunst, among other publications. Her recent essays have concerned the forensics of free speech, the materialities of Concrete art, and the afterlives of slavery in Tarsila’s 1923 painting A Negra. She is currently the Clark/Oakley Humanities Fellow at the Clark Art Institute. Her talk tonight is part of a book project that takes as its point of departure the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark’s notion of the “organic line."