Christopher Lawrie








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New Constructivism

(The New Constructivism was originally titled the New Suprematism but the name was changed to avoid confusion with supremacism, a most obnoxious concept.)

  Find out about the original Suprematism  
The New Constructivism seeks to combine the original ideals and aesthetics of the Suprematists, with an emphasis on their more subversive characteristics, with the concept of the Found Object and manifested in situ or as a site-specific installation. At the heart of the New Suprematism is the desire to investigate the distinction between reality and non-reality, or at least to challenge our perceptions of what is real and what is not. In philosophy, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. Recent critical theory, argues that the designation of any object or space constitutes a modification of the object or space because it changes our perception of its utility, its lifespan, or its status and therfore that object or space can be redefined and classified as art.

Only when they are freed from the encumbrance of practical utility (that is, when they are placed in museums) will their truly artistic, absolute value be recognized. K Malevich

Lawrie, however, rather than relocating utilitarian artworks, is working with architectural artifacts already located in museums. They are elevated to the status of artworks by a naming process rather than by relocation. They do then, in the case of doors and lifts etc. retain their utilitarian function.





El Lissitzky declared that the Suprematist Proun series existed at “the station where one changes from painting to architecture.” The paintings, which combined basic forms grouped together and featuring shifting axes, attempted to provide multiple perspectives of spatial amalgams despite their two-dimensional nature. Lissitzky reasoned that the future of the arts lay in their potential to be integrated. The fusion of drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, for instance, could be realized with his Prouns. In a sense, Lissitzky’s Prouns may also be considered precursors on the one hand to modern abstract imagery and, on the other hand, acutely industrial modern architecture. TheArtStory.org

'You are here . . . Proun 1' In situ. Installation Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney NSW 2013

An imperative of the taking possession of a designated space or object in order to complete its transformation from a purely utilitarian entity to a work of Art is the labeling or naming of that space or object.


So it is an important part of the process of New Suprematist artworks that they be named by the placing of identity cards on the approprate wall of the Art gallery or Museum in which they now exist.

opening invitation invitation  

Suprematism found its base in the application of the fundamental geometric forms; particularly the square and the circle. It originated in 1915 in Russia and was established by Kazimir Malevich. The movement also expressed an interest in concepts that related to non-euclidean geometry, which imagined forms moving through space. A non-objective style of Art, it’s simplication of form and use of geometry influenced, among many other things, the developement of Constructivism and the Bauhaus.

The style developed as Russia was in a revolutionary state and was an effort to do away with the old and create something new. It was primarily developed in the field of painting although it’s practice extended to poetry and theatre. The most identified work is Malevich’s 'White on White', which is composed of an offset white square set inside another white square. Wiki

doors of perception  
'Doors of Perception . . . choices. Proun 2' In situ. Installation Art Gallery of NSW Sydney 2013  



Found objects derive their identity as art from the designation placed upon them by the artist and the social history that comes with the object, either its anonymous wear and tear (as in collages of Kurt Schwitters) or its recognizability as a consumer icon (as in the sculptures of Haim Steinbach).

The context into which it is placed (e.g. a gallery or museum) is also a highly relevant factor. The idea of dignifying commonplace objects in this way was originally a shocking challenge to the accepted distinction between what was considered art as opposed to not art. Although it may now be accepted in the art world as a viable practice, it continues to arouse questioning.

Found objects, however, have to have the artist’s input, at the very least an idea about it, i.e. the artist’s designation of the object as art, which is nearly always reinforced with a title. Modification of the found object is not a neccessary component. Wiki

'You are here too . . . Proun 3' In situ. Installation Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney NSW 2013  
'Corner with Fire Cylinder and Hose Cabinet.' In situ Installation Istanbul Modern Istanbul 2012  
black dots  
'Door with Black Circles and Empty Courtyard. Proun 4' Located Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney 2013  
lyrical abstract  
'Lyrical Abstraction Piece.' Biennale of Sydney Cockatoo Island 2014  
orange square  
'Orange Square.' Biennale of Sydney Cockatoo Island 2014  

'Hallway with Two Rectangles and Engravings .' Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Strasbourg France 2012

lift: a homage to kinetic art  
'Lift: Homage to Kinetic Art .' Salt Beyoglu Gallery Istanbul Turkey. 2012  


Compositions: Geelong Art Gallery >  


Chris Lawrie
Hanging Water: Work on Paper with Burnt Wood 1998
Genesis 2003
©2012 Drift1 Chris Lawrie