"An Urge To Take Off From The Earth": How Malevich Embodies The Role Of 'Shamanic Artist' In His Early Career

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Charlotte Lucy Gill


The article submitted will bear the following title: “An Urge To Take Off From The Earth”: How Malevich Embodies The Role of ‘Shamanic Artist’ In His Early Career. Its main arguments can be summarized as follows: Firstly it will examine how Malevich appears to undergo an experience which parallels both the ecstatic and the didactic initiation process of a neophyte shaman. It will do this by looking at Malevich’s writings, his pedagogical role as a teacher of his own artistic school, and indeed his teaching methods, and how these aspects are allegorical to the shamanic initiatory experience. Then it will consider how Malevich, through the metaphorical implications of Uspensky’s higher cosmic reality, defined by the fourth dimension, and indeed in the heightened status of art and his embodiment of the Nietzschean ‘super-artist’, is able to embark on a shamanic ‘soul-journey’, transcending earthly reality, and consequently, is able to philanthropically transform the world through the ideology of his Suprematist vision, for the attainment of cosmic equilibrium. This article will make a significant contribution to Art-Historical scholarship for it is an aspect of Malevich’s paradigmatic oeuvre that has yet to be examined, despite the presence of some compelling evidence, and indeed provides grounds for undertaking more extensive research into the connection between Malevich’s radical modern aesthetic and the shamanic phenomenon.

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