A short fixed media work inspired by a surrealist painting by Rene Magritte
Composer: Andres Luz
Petit Hommage a René Magritte for fixed media (2017) is inspired by “L’Usage de la Parole,” a painting by the Belgian Surrealist artist René Magritte (1898-1967). Famous for his approach in depicting every day, recognizable images in unusual juxtapositions within a single work, the painting centers around a cut-out of notated music in the shape of a person wearing a bowler hat. The figure is situated on top of a dull pink box, mysteriously inscribed with the words “Le savoir” (knowledge), which drifts upon what appears to be choppy, rose-colored waters amidst a dark, menacing sky.
Petit Hommage a René Magritte for fixed media combines transformations of the notated music, particularly the I6 inversion, in dialogue with a variety of other sounds related (and sometimes unrelated) to the disparate elements found in Magritte’s painting. In the central section, the audio was extracted from an interview with René Magritte describing his thoughts on poetic content in his art: “Yes, in fact…eh… I believe that there is a familiar feeling to poetry, and this familiar feeling to poetry would be what I would call, for simplicity’s sake, the ‘tourist’ feeling…who will look far for poetry.” The audio clip ends at this point; but in the original, Magritte continues: “…and the poetry they find they know it before, it is a familiar poem given by very strange things, so that the familiar can become the occasion to discover the poetry which is not familiar– unknown poetry.”
Special thanks to Monique Osorio for the pre-recorded piano sample and Jennifer La Rue for providing the English translation.
Duration: 2 minutes.
Note: It is recommended, but not required, to project an image of René Magritte’s “L’Usage de la Parole” during playback in a darkened hall.