Mark Liebenrood

99 Black Squares (for Kasimir Malevich)

99 Black Squares (for Kasimir Malevich)

A search for the perfect black led to making this painting, a kind of colour chart. Five tube blacks and two chromatic blacks* are laid down on their own or in combination, and each of those blacks are further combined with different paint mediums. The number of paints and mediums chosen allowed for 112 unique permutations, of which 99 are used here. Each square of the painting is thus a unique mixture of pigment and medium. The mixtures were randomly assigned to each square of the grid.

Kasimir Malevich’s Black Square, one of the foundations of Modernist abstract painting, was first shown in 1915. This painting anticipates the 99th birthday in 2014 of the original Black Square.

  • A chromatic black is formed from a mixture of non-black colours. For example, Alizarin Crimson can be mixed with a much smaller amount of Phthalo Green to produce a deep, rich black.

Oil on canvas
18 x 18 inches
Private collection

In Paintings