Installation in Venice to re-imagine Lenin’s tomb within Malevich’s black cube

Project marking centenary of Russian Revolution aims to highlight "potency of symbols in post-truth world"

Visitors to the 57th Venice Biennale (13 May-26 November) this summer can see a sculptural rendering of Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum housed inside a 3D version of Kasimir Malevich’s famous black square. The project is known as Object Number#1, the enigmatic title given by Russian officials to Lenin’s body in 1924 after the Bolshevik leader had died. 


The initiative, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, is a collaboration between the London-based cultural institution Grad (Gallery for Russian Arts and Design); Madrid’s Factum Arte, described as a “digital mediation company”; and the London-based architects Skene Catling de la Peña. 


New technology will turn the Suprematist artist Malevich’s painting Black Square on a White Ground (1915) into the 8m black cube located on the Zattere in Venice. A reconstruction of Lenin’s sarcophagus, based on the architect Konstantin Melnikov’s original 1920s design, will be positioned within the cube. 


“Encased within the sarcophagus will be a sculptural rendering of Lenin made using a process of depth-mapping,” a press statement says. A 60-seat amphitheatre will surround Lenin’s mummified corpse, where visitors can debate the “contemporary meaning of these two resonant images”, the statement adds.

 A rendering of Object Number One (Image: 2017 © GRAD)

by Gareth Harris

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