Improvising upon a motif

The following pieces are from a wider body of work considering equivalents between visual and audible improvisation. The primary aims of these pieces, however, is to consider forms of improvising upon a motif. Examining the solo in conventional jazz, the musician would improvise upon a motif within the constraints of a particular song or idiom. An equivalent in painting could therefore be painting from, or within, a particular theme.

These pieces aim to explore this territory and shed light on equivalents and potential distinctions between improvising upon a theme and transcription.

The following pieces consider the relationship between Picasso’s Guernica from 1937 and Jackson Pollocks Number 14, 1951. Number 14, is part of Pollock’s late pour technique of painting he developed towards the end of his life during the late nineteen forties and early nineteen fifties. His evolved pour technique enabled a greater sense of control and variety of mark and also heralded a return to a form of figuration within his work. Reminiscent to Guernica in its scale and format, Number 14 has been said to be Pollock’s answer, or indeed challenge, to Picasso on his own turf.

Improvisation / Transcription: Number 14, Guernica #1
Improvisation / Transcription: Number 14, Guernica #2

From top to bottom. Improvisation / Transcription: Number 14, Guernica #1. Improvisation / Transcription: Number 14, Guernica #2.


© Adam Blackburn 2019