Electroacoustic work based on "Guardians of the Secret" (1943) by Jackson Pollock
Composer: Andres Luz
Jackson Pollock’s early surrealist work, Guardians of the Secret (1943), is displayed in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and serves as the inspiration behind Enigmatic Improvisation for solo flute and electronics, op. 16 (2019). The painting exudes the heavy, mystical air of an ancient, shamanistic scene far removed from common, everyday experience, and is cast with a sense of foreboding that verges on the apocalyptic. The shadowy background figures, armored sentinels standing guard in their protective display of the secret image, appear surreal and menacing in their wild depiction. A lone coyote, the spirit animal of dark magic and trickery in some Native American cultures, rests beneath the enigmatic relic with a watchful eye.
Given these elements, I crafted the fixed media background with a similarly dark and weighty intensity, to conjure an ominous, and sometimes violent, clamorous landscape that defies simple explanation. Disembodied whispers, animal cries, crashes, and subsonic eruptions depict the nocturnal absence of reason in the first movement, entitled Guardians. This gives way to the transparent, diaphanous textures found in the meditative Mythos, portraying the radiant luminosity of the mysterious, secret artefact in a loosely unfolding prolation canon. The final movement, Emergence, proceeds with a dark grandeur. It arises from a sense of transcendent epiphany, one that suggests for the observer an unexpected awareness and wonder for the titular secret at the heart of this work.
Duration – Approximately 13 minutes