In Footsteps of Malevich

Visiting Nemchinovka village, where Kazimir Malevich spent his last years.

Exhibit Venue:

Moscow area

Exhibit Date:

June 2012

Kazimir Malevich was married for the second time to the resident of the settlement Nemchinovka Sofja Rafalovich. They lived on the first floor of his wife father's house (his name was Michail Ferdinandovich Rafalovich) to the address: ul. Borodinskaya, 18. K. Malevich loved Nemchinovka very much and after his death in 1935 under his will he was buried in the surroundings of Nemchinovka, under the large lonely standing oak.

In June 1931 Malevich wrote to his friend, painter I.V.Klyun: "When I die, all the painters from all over the world and that who knows me should bury me in Barvikha. ... And they should place the turrent on my grave in the form of that column that is situated in the Tretyakov Gallery, ... with the tower where the telescope will be put to look at Jupiter".

Malevich understood that it would hardly be possible to bury him in Barvikha and before his death asked to bury him in Nemchinovka, that was done by his closest friends and relatives.

The grave represented not a large pit 80x80 cm, where the burial urn from alabaster was put into and then the pit was likely filled up with the cement solution. Near it, Suetin's cube with the black square on one of its sides was placed. After winter 1941-1942 the burial place was hardly to find, as the heavy military machines passed along these places and the oak (as it was very visible during air attacks on Moscow) was possibly destroyed.

Since then there have been many attempts to find this place. In the eighties it was decided to mount a small memorable sign and it was constructed to a greater extent arbitrarily at the edge of Nemchinovskij forest.

In 2002 the uncommercial partnership "Nemchinovka and Malevich" (N&M) was organized, and one of its aims is to define the real burial place of K. Malevich.

As a result of systematic work in archives, questioning of the old residents of Nemchinovka, we succeeded in defining the place of searching. The search in this area with the use of geophysical techniques was led by N&M and the field party of the shallow electrical survey laboratory of the geological faculty, MSU, during summer 2004. The results were the following: there was found the heterogeneousness of the soil layer on the depth up to 3 meters that could be left by the rootage of the large tree. The analysis of the soil sample, carried out by us in the regional station of chemization, showed the increased temper (approximately twice as much) in comparison with the check sample taken outside this heterogeneousness area and that confirms our supposition.

Superficial excavations gave the large quantity of ceramic and glass-ware fragments of the early twentieth century. The check excavations did not bring such a result. They correspond with old residents' recollection that the place at the famous oak was very popular for picnics right up to Malevich's burial there.

The results of the conducted work allow with a high degree of probability to suppose that the burial place has been found.

The situation in Nemchinovka today horrifies the numerous admirers of Russian classical avant-gard all over the world. It is difficult to get to the memorable sign in the self-styled settlement of Malevich (there is a barrier and guard there). The house where Malevich lived is in emergency situation.

The country should preserve and develop its cultural heritage, in this case such a well known as Russian classical avant-garde. There is no place in the world more significant for such a famous brand as Russian classical avant-garde and its most prominent representative Kazimir Malevich.