The Art of Chance [un]expected
Works by Peter Lacroix

[un]expected. The Art of Chance

Chance defies all determinationand yet art uses calculated chance as a creative force. In the past century artists have developed varied methods and processes to trigger chance and make the “[un]expected” visible within fixed parameters. With around 120 works, the exhibition showed how experimentally or systematically artists have dealt with the element of chance.

Around 1920 Hans Arp and the Surrealists were the first to recognize the creative potential of chance. Max Ernst invented the technique of frottage, in which paper is laid over an object and then rubbed with charcoal or a pencil. Beginning in 1960 Concrete Art too focused on chance. Rune Mields and Vera Molnár were interested in the mathematical aspect of chance. herman de vries arranged the paper strips in his collages according numbers from a probability table, as used in biological field experiments.

Chance is also a theme in contemporary art. Timm Ulrichs’s floor object “Casual: Causal” (1983) and Patrycja German’s performative installation “Card Reading” (2010–2016) begin with the question of what chance means for individuals in decision-making situations. Christian Jankowski turns the focus onto himself: his video “Telemistica” (1999) gathers together Italian astrologists’ answers to his question of whether he can expect to become a famous artist in the future.

An “experimental laboratory” was set up for the exhibition, where visitors of all ages and school classes could conduct experiments.

Curator Eva-Marina Froitzheim
Research assistance Anna-Maria Drago Jekal
Sponsored by Innovationsfonds Kunst Baden-Württemberg, Südwestbank AG, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group,
Staatliche Toto-Lotto GmbH Baden-Württemberg, Börse Stuttgart


Hans Arp, Johannes Auer, John Baldessari, Willi Baumeister, Guillaume Bijl, Anna und Bernhard Blume, George Brecht, Marcel Broodthaers, Ludger Brümmer, John Cage, Götz Dipper, Reinhard Döhl, Óscar Domínguez, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Patrycja German, Eugen Gomringer, K. O. Götz, Gerhard von Graevenitz, Dieter Hacker, Dick Higgins, Hannah Höch, Victor Hugo, Christian Jankowski, Marcel Jean, Franz Krause, Peter Lacroix, Pe Lang, Stéphane Mallarmé, Hansjörg Mayer, Henri Michaux, Rune Mields, Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnár, François Morellet, Frieder Nake, Georg Nees, Chandrasekhar Ramakrishnan, Gerhard Richter, Niki de Saint Phalle, Diet Sayler, Eran Schaerf, Konrad Balder Schäuffelen, Gustav Schleicher, Oskar Schlemmer, Steffen Schlichter, Zdenĕk Sýkora, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, André Thomkins, Troika [Eva Rucki, Conny Feyer, Sebastian Noel], Timm Ulrichs, Ben Vautier, herman de vries