Black Circle Square


Borrowing from the Russian-Ukrainian painter Kazimir Malevitch (russ. Kazimir Malevič, 1878-1935), the Italian concept artist Massimo Bartolini is creating a performative sculpture titled Black Circle Square for the Emscherkunst 2016.
Malevitch’s works Black Square and Black Circle both made art history as a kind of neutral point and are often labelled as icons of modern art. They are key pieces marking the paradigm shift in painting, from representational art to the more abstract.

«I reduced myself to the zero of form and went beyond, from 0 to 1.» Malevitch, 1915

With his work Black Circle Square, Massimo Bartolini connects the river Emscher’s history and the Ruhr area’s industrialization with Kazimir Malevitch’s about a hundred years old works. At the Hochwasserrückhaltebecken (flood retention basin, short: HRB) in Dortmund, at the border to Castrop-Rauxel, Massimo Bartolini builds a kind of sculptural replication and progression of the painting Black Circle: As a blow-up with the measurements 1:10, a black circle is inscribed into the great white plateau – a pool with water. For Bartolini, the white square with the black pool represents a kind of garden without trees that is supposed to be cleaned regularly in a performative act during the exhibition, as if it was a spiritual task concerning the cleanliness of the whole world.

With Malevitch’s most constructivist work, Bartolini establishes a connection to the history of industrialization, since the adequate art form of the industrialization in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century is the abstract and not the representative or figurative art. For Bartolini, this means that Malevitch’s works share similar fundamentals or visions as the industrialization, with the wish to reshape the future leading the way. The central idea in Malevitch’s work and his newly developed art form Suprematism is to design a new world with artistic tools.

Once upon a time, the Ruhr area was the center of industrialization in Europe. For a long time, it was an area of industrial agglomeration where factories and industrial facilities piled next to each other. One of the consequences of this was the misuse of the small rural river Emscher as a waste water canal at the beginning of the 20th century by mining and industry. Taken from her natural course and put into a rigid concrete corset, the Emscher was subjugated to industrial functions and ends wholly.

Especially here, in the Ruhr area, the old value system of the industrialization is being revised since some time: Today, about a hundred years later, that process is supposed to be undone in a way and the Emscher is being converted to a close-to-nature riverscape. The Emscher is being freed of waste water, cleaned, in a sense, as the white square, Bartolini’s white canvas, that is cleaned regularly as a performance by a man.

The art work ist still accessible on site since it simutaneously functions as a fire protection pond for the nearby former farmstead, Emschertal Hof.