A 16mm film projects only a black frame onto a small screen during a recitation in Russian of Kazimir Malevich’s essay “Художник и кино” (“The Artist and The Cinema”) as its soundtrack. Empty Form explores the legacy of a history that never existed between abstract art and the cinema through a series of critical comments penned by Kazimir Malevich in relation to this latter art form, when it was still in its infancy, back in 1926.
The voiceover, barely audible over the mechanical sound of the projector, comes as a reminder of how a discourse that initially helped inform the understanding of a medium fades and is reinterpreted as the conception of that medium expands and accommodates different goals and desires. The viewer is simply left to imagine what the reading might be saying and place a personal interpretation on the relationship of the spoken words with the black, visually ‘empty’ screen. The struggle through which we attempt to negotiate an aesthetic born in time and circumstances that are beyond ourselves is manifested here in a melancholic gesture wherein unintelligibility allows for the projection of several diverging (mis)interpretations.
Voice: Lev Manovich