Suprematism was a search for art’s barest essentials, a sort of “how un-art can a work of art get”, the “zero degree” of art.
“Only with the disappearance of a habit of mind which sees in pictures little corners of nature, madonnas and shameless Venuses, shall we witness a work of pure, living art.”. – Kazimir Malevich
“In the year 1913 (1), trying desperately to free art from the dead weight of the real world, I took refuge in the form of a square.” – Kazimir Malevich, The Non-Objective World.
Kazimir Malevich, White on White. 1918
Supematism was an attempt to do away with the old and create something new, and the square was the perfect representation of the “supremacy of pure sensation or perception in the pictorial arts”, for Malevich, like many of his contemporaries, believed that the external, “visible” world could no longer serve as the basis for art. As he wrote in 1915, “ […] nothing is real except sensation…the sensation of non-objectivity.”