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In 1913 Kazimir Malevich was asked to produce a series of costumes and set designs for the "first Futurist opera," entitled "Victory Over the Sun". The music was by Mikhail Matiushin, and the main text was written by the poet Alexei Kruchenykh. There was also a prologue written primarily by Velimir Khlebnikov. The opera was performed in 1913 on a double bill with Mayakovsky's play "Vladimir Mayakovsky. A Tragedy". For his costumes, Malevich provided radical, anti-realist designs that combined volumetrically-shaped body coverings and shocking color schemes. Malevich's drawing for the Enemy for the 1913 production of "Victory Over the Sun".

A costume of a worker in Malevich's designs for the 1913 production of "Victory Over the Sun".

Retrospectively, Malevich declared that his backdrop for the second act, fifth scene of "Victory Over the Sun" was the first public display of Suprematism. Certainly, the large square divided diagonally recalls his painting "Black Square." Still it is possible, in the context of the play, to see this design as symbolic of the split between night and day, and therefore as, at least in principle, representational rather than purely abstract.

More designs for "Victory Over the Sun".

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