Letter to Mikhail Matiushin – K. MALEVICH
January 21-28, 1920, Vitebsk.
Read it in your own closed circle without any “outsiders” present.
Dear Denizens of Pesochnaya Street,
My dear Mikhail Vasilievich, I was very happy to receive your letter and I’m also happy that the works of your workshop 2 have attracted attention and achieved a new perfection. 3 1 haven’t written
to you for a long time, but I also hadn’t received anything from you either — why is that? Thus it happens that we don’t write to each other,” perhaps because we create perfection within ourselves, or seek it within the moist recesses of our brain, which has many hallways and folds containing universes and their perfections. This is the reason why we don’t write to each other and don’t give any signs of life concerning our whereabouts and experiences. Perhaps our paths will diverge to such an extent in the infinite passage-ways of the brain that we will never encounter each other again. But this will not be true because even within the world of the heads of human beings made distant by consciousness it will come and collide with us. Thus, we pioneers of the new existence must give signs of life to each other because we are pulling the sweep net in order to catch new ones for the new existence. The unity that unites us is within us. The relationship of this unity to each one of us, its nature, and our conscious relationship to it and towards each other is very important, as this unity should close the horizon — yes, we must close the horizon, to produce the shore onto which we can haul up the new existence I feel that now is the time that out of the infinite movements of our egos we must come together on the edge of the horizon in order to put into place the new existence of the universe of our perfection. Our hearing must be keen enough to hear the whispers of the new existence in ourselves — we must not miss a single movement or whisper of the perfection that is within us. Let us be attentive and pensive as a new order of consent is approaching. Observe how entire columns and dust clouds of egos are moving. Look at how they move and observe that there is a veritable war and fear among them in a battle for their own egos. Do you see a mysterious hand squeezing the atmosphere? Nobody sees it but it can be felt. Do you see the new infinity, which will become the new universe? If so, cast a keen glance because something remarkable will happen. I can already see it: a line has flashed by and millions of hands have grasped it — the hands of millions of egos of personal individualism; now see how everything has risen up and become established as the perfection of squares, further, see how the square has been covered with faceted plants without a single crooked or dented line; what is it that grows and moves the structure, what is the individualistic ego subject to? The new existence has entered the fifth dimension, and personal individualism has been confronted by the line of economy that has transformed all egos into Collective Individualism; it is now clear that economy is the way to the perfection of everything and everybody; it is now also clear that all will obtain existence only when they travel along this path of perfection; it always was, is and will be; but it must be revealed, seen and also be seen as moving towards that great perfection — victory over time. Now I understand the meaning of Suprematism; now I understand its line; now I understand our correlation to it, now I see how wizened the old world is; and now I see two moving egos in whose faces I’ve learned to read the signs, and I divide them into perfections, for I enter through the gates of the World; I have seen the concordance of millions of elements that form the instruments of infinite overcoming.
And so my dear friends, I haven’t invented anything, but I have seen — there is so much in the moistness of our brain. I have seen the line of economy and established it as the fifth dimension of our perfection, 5 our path and our unity lie only in and through it. As you are my friends, I will now look for it in yourselves. I now want to see you in your essence and I want you all to ponder my words, as they are the sounds made by one who is disappearing in the distance so that your echo may be heard.
About my present situation. You were astounded that I left Moscow, but it was not I who left — something carried me off — something inside of me. I was bedridden, my hand and my leg weren’t functioning. As I was vigorous, I struggled for a long time; everything went back to normal and I was taken to Vitebsk. This was necessary for my essence. It had to preserve me because there is much that has to come out of me, and now it has placed me behind a desk and I am working — I write as much as I can. I still can’t walk — there is a great deal of pain in my side, but my hand and leg are stronger now. I have written 55 pages about movement and economy and a book on individualism and the ego and the collective. I lectured a great deal, took part in debates, restored the New Art, as a result of which the workers appeared with Suprematist banners; there was a gathering of the trade union councils of factories and plants, which was decorated in Suprematist style. All the buildings of the plant were decorated in Suprematist style andin the end the Red Army men also joined in by hanging a Suprematist curtain in their huge theater. We are now putting together an album of photographs to send as a consolation to the Fine [Arts] reaction in Moscow.
Now we are organizing in Vitebsk a Youth Art Rally and commemorating the anniversary of the School. My friends and I will also participate. We will send you the book in the next few days There have been delays with the cover.
The book consists of one of my lectures, written down just as I spoke and published.
I’d like to see you very much and share my thoughts with you. There is much that I want to tell you and would like to accomplish. But how can I do it? I must travel sitting down, and cannot stand for a long time. I wish that I could turn into a book and wind up in Olga Konstantmovna’s warehouse.
Read the letter in your own circle, without any “outsiders” (no matter how nice they may seem) present, however, you may tell them about the victory of Suprematism.
Now I embrace all of you,
Yours, K. Malevich