In the Periodicals of The Cherkashin Metropolitan Museum, the authority of one is overlaid and trumped by the other; the Socialist Realist code legitimized through the newspaper, Pravda, is countered by the square or cross, black and red. It is difficult to see this double focus unambiguously as a reclaiming of the historical avant-garde from the recently suppressed past, although in some images the colors applied to the surface of the newspapers, black and red, literally blot out the message conveyed by the type. This works in the other direction too: the square is represented by a whole unblemished cover page of Pravda. Thus, if the Cherkashins' work subverts the urgent message of party leaders, slogans, and denunciations they extract, neither is their effort particularly kind to Malevich. Their appropriations disrupt the purity of geometric forms, papers are folded, turned, reduced in scale. The primary code of Suprematism, and its universal appeal, is interrupted, reordered, opened to question. Neither Malevich's voice nor that of the Soviet State ultimately gains priority in this dialogue.
Jane A. Sharp
Curator of Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers
The State University of New Jersey