Abstract Art and Jazz Improvisation
"Simultaneous Counter Composition" by Theo Van Doesburg
I'm only a few pages into the book Abstract Painting: Fifty Years of Accomplishment, from Kandinsky to the Present, but I see interesting parallels between abstract art and jazz improvisation, as defined by Free Jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman (in an interview with French philosopher Jacque Derrida).
Ornette Coleman says Jazz musicians are hard to surprise. Playing precomposed music isn't interesting to them because it's already been done. Instead of playing what they are told, they prefer to "destroy" a composition and re-create something more "democratic".
Likewise, to the practiced eye, abstract art contains few surprises because
everything is related, nothing manifests itself which has not been foreshadowed(pg. 7). And
as early as 1909, the Cubists painters destroyed the object and reconstructed it in a different way, improvising freely with pictorial means and without taking objective reality into account. In doing so, the implicitly discovered the uselessness of the object and, in fact, proved themselves to be the first creators of abstract painting(pg. 10).
I had the idea to learn about improvisation through other mediums other than music. It seems that abstract art may provide a meta-framework or mindset. I also had the idea of creating musical improvisations based on paintings from Pollock, Schwitters etc, but any paint or instrumentation in unskilled hands like mine can only create a mess.
Miles Davis was quoted saying: "Ideas are a dime a dozen; I can just look at a picture on the wall and come up with all kinds of ideas. But finding a sound is hard."
Meditation Time bookstanding today: 40 minutes Quality of meditation (out of 10): 5
Practice Minutes on the keyboard today (out of 40): 10 minutes Quality of practice (out of 10): 5