Over the course of nearly a century the deliberate introduction of chance elements and procedures into aesthetic structures has had a growing significance in all the arts. Today, chance can be accounted as a major factor in contemporary artistic theory and practice. In the visual arts during this considerable span of time, chance procedures have occurred in many guises and stylistic contexts, at first tentatively and then in rapid proliferation. Terms and phrases such as found materials, appropriated objects, automatism, the metamorphic elision of images, structures based on random relationships, happenings, options, ecological and conceptual forms suggest the broad and varied applications of chance.
The present exhibition is the first to survey the uses of chance in art; because of the scope and complexity of the themes it is only possible to suggest its more characteristic features rather than to seek a “definitive” treatment. Nevertheless, the diversity of the exhibition clearly speaks of the depth and breadth of the modern artist’s concern with chance.
-Stephen S. Prokopoff, Curator and ICA Director, 1970