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chance & change

As we have seen, by 1970 de vries had set his course towards the 'real works', although he continued to work on the random objectivations, moving towards the definitive published presentations of them in 1972 and 1973. This shift in the nature of his formal 'making' derived from a contemporaneous philosophical development at the heart of de vries's thinking:

chance & change, i wrote in my notebook on 4 july 197O, in teheran, on my way from arnhem to bombay and the seychelles, to buy there with friends an island, to live there. the island is not bought. chance and change - change and chance.

de vries came to realise that the principle of randomness does not sufficiently account for this apparently infinite variation in natural phenomena. Works such as one, two and three hours beneath my apple tree (1975), under the birch (1982), beneath the maples beside the spring (1992) in which he has fixed the leaves as they have fallen in a seemingly random configuration, have made visible, says de vries, "that which people do not see any more. but [they're] also about randomness in nature, as well ... randomness and chance. in the beginning i said when a leaf falls from a tree there are many factors making the leaf at a certain moment fall on a certain point and this togetherness [of factors] i called randomness. but later i saw that everything is causal, and 'randomness' in fact expresses our inability to grasp the complexity of all these causes." (from a conversation with Paul Nesbitt, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 1992).

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over de typografie van het toeval, 1975
 

TEXT CREDITS
Passage from Mel Gooding, herman de vries : chance and change (Thames and Hudson : London 2006) 43, 48-49.

IMAGE CREDITS
over de typografie van het toeval. 24 chance & change documents (collected 16-4-1975, eschenau) [photo: courtesy Edda and Werner Hund, Frankfurt a/M]