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What Are The Chances: The Value of Coincidence at mima

  • Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art Centre Square, Middlesbrough TS1 2AZ (map)
Rachael Clewlow, Seven Walks Seven Gates in Seven Colours (Key), 2013 © Courtesy the artist.

Rachael Clewlow, Seven Walks Seven Gates in Seven Colours (Key), 2013 © Courtesy the artist.

This two-part event will celebrate the closing weekend of the exhibition Chance Finds Us at mima, the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, featuring a talk on the substance of chance by Sir David Spiegelhalter, and a conversation about order, process and chance in art, chaired by writer and art historian Chris Yetton.

Chance Finds Us is an artist-led project involving a group of eight visual artists based in the North East of England. The artists that constitute the group are, Sarah Bray, Alex Charrington, Rachael Clewlow, Peter J. Evans, James Hugonin, Nick Kennedy, Anne Vibeke Mou and Richard Rigg.

Anne Vibeke Mou and Nick Kennedy initiated the project in 2010, identifying a number of strong intellectual and aesthetic commonalities among a group of artists in the region, all working independently with systematic processes and engaging with elements of chance and randomness. The works on display in the exhibition reflect the often time consuming, ritualistic approach to making that many of these artists have adopted and demonstrate a collective strategy to create beauty through limitation. 

Part one of the closing event will be a talk by Sir David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at Cambridge University, in which he will explore the substance of chance, coincidence and determinable patterns in the world at large. How does randomness come into our lives and how can we better understand it?

Sir David is renowned for his inspirational talks on unpredictability and risk and has spoken on similar topics at the John Cage exhibition in Kettles Yard gallery in Cambridge.  His most recent book, The Norm Chronicles, co-written with Messrs Blastland and published in 2013, has received critical acclaim with The Economist claiming the book helps people "make sense of the barrage of confusing (and often misrepresented) statistics that riddle every day. Making the process enjoyable is a real achievement."

Addressing the theories of chance and coincidence, his talk, entitled ‘what are the chances: the value of coincidence’, will explore the substance of chance, coincidence and determinable patterns in the world at large, looking at how randomness come into our lives and how can we better understand it.

The second part of the event will be a conversation introduced and chaired by writer and art historian Chris Yetton about order, process and chance in art, explored through the work of artists exhibiting in Chance Finds Us. Peter J. Evans, James Hugonin and Anne Vibeke Mou will each introduce talking points connected to their individual practices and the wider discussion. The panel will likely cover the role of randomness and chance in art, order and control, the unexpected/coincidental, pattern and systems of measure.

The event is free but please click here to book in advance at visitmima.com; refreshments will be served. 

A publication that accompanies the exhibition, which includes essays by Ian Hunt and Iris Aspinall Priest, is available from the mima shop.

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