exhibition statement: Une Valse Lente






“…the intersidereal dust of the non-objective fourth dimension combines with the concept of spatial relativity in a pure notion of infinity, given material form…”[1]


A provocative quote by Kazimir Malevich complemented with recent astrophysical theories about dark energy, dark matter and time are the origin of reductive work that centres on “a pure notion of infinity.” This purity, transmitted through dimensions and translated by concepts into objects, waltzes around boundaries of perceptions within the volumes of apparently immeasurable space.


A motivating factor for the exhibition, with two different versions taking place at Abstract Project / Paris and Sawtooth ARI / Launceston this year, is to honour the 139th anniversary of Kazimir Malevich’s birth. To present the tangible modality of reductive art in the 21st century, while simultaneously celebrating ‘codes’ of Malevich and astrophysics, equates to a metaphysical continuity.

The exhibition at Abstract Project is minimalist and spacious in appearance, limited to five components: an implied cube intervening with a ‘plane’ outlined on the floor, a suspended construction, a pair of cubes positioned on a wall, a 3-dimensional dot placed on a window pane and a temporary intervention on the sidewalk near the main entrance to the gallery.

A Simple Box 

The work originated from a continuation of wondering how to translate ideas about space-time as the fourth dimension. Through art, how would a geometric form look while pausing to materialise? Donald Judd, influenced by Kazimir Malevich and Suprematism, unremittingly explored geometry as a means of translation on this very topic: “What is needed is a created space, space that is made by someone. Space that is formed as is a solid, the two the same, with the space and the solid defining each other.”[2]


By taking cues from both Malevich and Judd, and playing with visibility and invisibility, a version of ‘solid space’ as an open box or cube takes place. Here, a single plane is defined by a square-shaped outline on the floor, made from self-adhesive paper dashes, with the length of each of its four quadrilateral lines matching the height of the gallery’s ceiling. This work reveals that “a simple box is really a complicated thing.”[3]

Black Square

There is movement and movement. There are movements of small tension and movements of great tension and there is also a movement which our eyes cannot catch although it can be felt. In art this state is called dynamic movement.[4]


A square can be formed visually from two parallel lines that describe that shape simultaneously in two and three dimensions. The work, suspended from the ceiling, is made from two rods that individually rotate with air currents creating visible points and lines along with hinting at dissolved planes and implying other dimensions. The construction references Black Square, an iconic painting (in all its four versions) by Malevich as well as its 1913 genesis in his set-design for the futurist opera, Victory Over the Sun.

Spatial Relativity

The simplicity of two adjacent glossy white cubes magnifies the pristine qualities of light reflecting from their surfaces. Although this diptych was conceived as a playful take on the box step, a basic pattern used for dancing a waltz, it correlates to spatial relativity, with its notions about nearness/ distance and containment/ revelation.

Black Dot

Black Dot originates from the identical diameter of the circular end points of another component in this exhibition, Black Square. It “…shifts in the process of translation from one to another.”[5]  Very small in scale, yet seemingly constructed from an evenly shaped, dense mass, this work may suggest the presence of invisible dark matter.[6] By being placed on the surface of a transparent window within the gallery, Black Dot’s reverse side, ‘en plein air,’ reads as a flat black circle. Through its placement, texture and scent, this austere sculpture may be construed as a kind of intervening conduit.

Shimmering Substance

"The white square carries within it the white world (the construction of the world) by affirming the sign of the purity of human creative life."[7]

On the pavement outside Abstract Project, a temporary intervention of fine particles resonates with the same shape as the tilted central square of Malevich’s 1918 painting, White on White. By dusting the plane’s surface of the concrete with powdered material, its edges blur but they also expand. Visitors can walk into the work, literally deconstructing it by dispersing the powder to other points, lines and planes, not limited to the external grid of Parisian streets. Depending on traffic and weather, remnants of Shimmering Substance may/may not be visible until the finissage of Une Valse Lente on 15 September.


The initial concept came about from viewing images of the early semi-opaque glow of Hydrogen plasma.[8] Acting as a catalyst to emphasize dark energy[9] and above all, by association, venerate White on White, these ever-diffusing particles – akin to infinity – may concoct other, more mysterious patterns.

[1] Kazimir Malevich 1878-1935 and Suprematism, Gilles Néret (Cologne: Taschen GmbH 2003) 65-66.

[2] Donald Judd, via Art Journal 41, Autumn 1981, Complete Writings 1975-1986, “On Russian Art and Its Relation to My Work” 249-250. (Eindhoven: Lecturis, Van Abbemuseum 1987) 17.

[3] Donald Judd, edited by Nicholas Serota (London: Tate Publishers 2004) 251.

[4] Kazimir Malevich, http://quote.robertgenn.com/auth_search.php?authid=406

[5] Martina Copley + Francesca Rendle-Short, No Notes (This is Writing) (Melbourne: Impact Digital, limited edition of 200) 37.

[6] “Despite its invisibility, dark matter has been critical to the evolution of our universe and to the emergence of stars, planets and even life. That is because dark matter carries five times the mass of ordinary matter and, furthermore, does not directly interact with light. Both these properties were critical to the creation of structures such as galaxies…in particular, to the formation of a galaxy the size of the Milky Way. Without dark matter, radiation would have prevented clumping of the galactic structure for too long, in essence wiping it out and keeping the universe smooth and homogeneous. The galaxy essential to our solar system and our life was formed in the time since the big bang only because of the existence of dark matter.” Lisa Randall, What is Dark Matter? 1 June 2018 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-dark-matter1/

[7] Gilles Néret Kazimir Malevich 1878-1935 and Suprematism, (Cologne: Taschen GmbH 2003) 67.

[8] http://www.bigbangcentral.com/galaxy_page.html

[9] “According to Lambda-CDM, dark energy is the “cosmological constant,” represented by the Greek symbol lambda in Einstein’s theory; it’s the energy that infuses space itself…” Natalie Wolchover, Scientists Unveil New Inventory of Universe’s Dark Contents 3 August 2017 https://www.quantamagazine.org/scientists-unveil-new-inventory-of-universes-dark-contents-20170803/



Images: https://www.amariebergman.com/gallery/une-valse-lente



Gratitude galore to Bogumila Strojna, Madeleine Sins, Jean-Pierre Bertozzi and Paul MacGillivary; much appreciation to Nicola McClelland, Carole Driver, Vicky Wittmann-Lamb (Wholesale Beads, Prahran/Melbourne), David O’Malley (The Plastic Display People, Perth) and Nathan (Officeworks, Melbourne)



Abstract Project

5 Rue des Immeubles Industriels, 75011 Paris

6 - 15 September 2018