From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Nonobjectivity appeared, contemporary with cubism, in the paintings of the Russian Wassily Kandinsky ( 1866-1944), who, with a thorough understanding of the psychological effect of each element, and of the interrelationship of elements, composed paintings devoid of representational content which convey, like music, certain moods or “soul states”. Completely nonobjective painting is found also in the work of the Russians Kasimir Malevich (1878— 1935 ) and Alexander Rodchenko (1891- ), and of the neoplasticists of the Netherlands, of whom Piet Cornelis Mondrian (1872-1944) is perhaps the best known. Composition in White, Black and Red is organized into so perfect an asymmetrical balance of lines, areas, and colors that no change, even infinitesimal, is possible without disturbing that balance. The colors used are black, white, and a small amount of red; and the lines are a balance of verticals and horizontals, with no curve and no diagonal." --Gardner's Art Through the Ages (1926) by Helen Gardner
It remains one of a great mysteries of 20th century art, how, while leading a comfortable career, during which he just followed all the latest trends in art, in 1915 Malevich suddenly came up with the idea of Suprematism. The fact that Malevich throughout all his life was signing and re-signing his works using earlier dates makes this u-turn in his artistic career even more ambiguous. However in 1915 he published his manifesto From Cubism to Suprematism. In 1915-1916 he worked with other Suprematist artists in a peasant/artisan co-operative in Skoptsi and Verbovka village. In 1916-1917 he participated in exhibitions of the Jack of Diamonds group in Moscow together with Nathan Altman, David Burliuk and A. Ekster, among others. Famous examples of his Suprematist works include Black Square (1915) and White on White (1918).
After the October Revolution (1917), Malevich became a member of the Collegium on the Arts of Narkompros, the Commission for the Protection of Monuments and the Museums Commission (all from 1918–1919). He taught at the Vitebsk Practical Art School in the USSR (now part of Belarus) (1919–1922), the Leningrad Academy of Arts (1922–1927), the Kiev State Art Institute (1927–1929), and the House of the Arts in Leningrad (1930). He wrote the book The World as Non-Objectivity, which was published in Munich in 1926 and translated into English in 1959. In it, he outlines his Suprematist theories.
In 1923, Malevich was appointed director of Petrograd State Institute of Artistic Culture, which was forced to close in 1926 after a Communist party newspaper called it "a government-supported monastery" rife with "counterrevolutionary sermonizing and artistic debauchery." The Soviet state was by then heavily promoting a politically sustainable style of art called Socialist Realism—a style Malevich had spent his entire career repudiating. Nevertheless, he swam with the current, and was quietly tolerated by the Communists.