Neorealism and Socialist Realism 5/9

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"Girls in a Field" (1928-32)
In 1928 Malevich embarked on a cycle of paintings that differed radically from the work he had produced in his previous period. Turning away from the abstract, geometric shapes of his suprematist paintings, Malevich returned to figurative art, in a series of canvases which, for the most part, depict volumetrically-shaped peasant figures "en face" against spartan backgrounds. The figures themselves are distinguished by the bright colors of their clothing as well as by a complete (or, in some cases, almost complete) lack of facial features. As regards their theme, their concern with figuration, and their monumentality, Malevich's second series of peasants can be read as an attempt by the artist to find a compromise with the leading trends of Soviet art. This painting, "Girls in a Field" (1928-32) disturbs the viewer not just because of the absence of facial features, but also because of the lack of interaction between them. Compare this painting and the one that follows with Malevich's earlier peasant paintings "Reapers" and the example from his peasant series of 1928-32.

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