Movement in Space is, perhaps, the most important work painted by Mikhail Matiushin and an original epigraph to his entire oeuvre. A leading member of the Russian avant-garde, Matiushin inspired many innovative projects among the “left-wing” artists of St Petersburg.
A highly talented and erudite musician, painter, sculptor and art critic, he formulated the theory of “extended vision” in the early 1920s. This theory lay at the heart of the activities of Matiushin’s Zorved (see-know) group and the artist’s work at first the Museum of Artistic Culture and then the department of organic culture at the Institute of Artistic Culture.
In Movement in Space, the artist studies the interaction of colour and the environment on patterns of seven colours – reds, oranges, yellows, yellow-greens, light-blues, dark-blues and violets. Following the central principle of his theory, the law of supplementary colours, Matiushin divided colours into main active colour, environmental background colour and the medium colour that brings them all together. He affirmed that colour was always mobile and dependent on the adjoining colours, the strength of the light and the extent of the colour grounds. The artist published the results of his research into colour in his Reference Book on Colour (1932).