Wouter Nijland


Gott würfelt nicht (A. Einstein), I do (W. Nijland).

In my paintings I use aleatoric* systems. The use of chance as a decisive factor is centuries old. It is known that the Romans made choices by throwing dice.
In the year 1954, Werner Meyer-Eppler, a Belgian physicist and composer, interpreted the term aleatoric as: a process in which the course is broadly defined, but the details depend on chance. Aleatoric acts are small, but significant variations within a defined framework.

In music, Cage, Bowie and Mozart are examples of famous composers of aleatoric pieces. In art history, aleatoric methods were used by Dadaist and Surrealist artists in the first half of the last century. Famous examples are Arp and Duchamp. In the contemporary visual arts Morellet and Struycken are known for their use of these methods.

The reason that I work with random acts within a fairly rigid system is not directly due to a continuing fascination for an aleatoric art movement. The connection is there, but with a different twist.
My current method is created from two different angles. The first is my interest in opposing factors in philosophy (existentialism / determinism), geometry (horizontal / vertical) and painting (form/ residual form). The second approach is to investigate the potential applications of paint.

My recent paintings include concepts in which the opposite factors ‘systematic’ and ‘coincidence’ interact. The systematic part is issuing a concept in which the rules and acts are fixed.
The acts themselves are formed by aleatoric processes. For example, the degree angle of a brush stroke by the taking of a tagged marble from a bucket of 360 marbles.
The size of a shape by a cast with a dice. Or to fill in a square, yes or no, with the toss of a coin.

The final composition is an elaboration of a concept in which the two opposites have had an equally amount of influence.

* Aleatoric music (from Latin: Alea = ‘die’) where music is deliberately using random and unpredictable factors.
Aleatoric means in music, art and literature, producing artistic structures through improvisational or random combinatorial operations (source: Wikipedia)