Sattuma taiteen tapahtumisen välineenä

Jari Jula

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


    Chance is a term used in artistic speech. Artists use the term to describe their own way of working, critics use it to describe the artists’ works. The idea seems to be that referring to the concept of chance expresses something essential about artistic work and the work of art. What each person means by chance remains unclear, however, and the use of the term is frustratingly confusing. In my research I ask what chance is like as a tool of artistic expression. I consider chance to be an essential part of an artistic process that has been perceived as successful; it is the artist’s way of surprising herself. Pretentious art vibrates with chance and speaks to the artist. My study includes both artistic and theoretical part. The artistic part comprises two exhibitions Ei-mikään (Nothing) and Jokin (Something), which jointly form a full artistic process. In the theoretical part, I divide the artistic work between “nothing” and “something” phases with view to highlighting the terms of chance. In addition to the stated purpose, this division is the best way of describing my own work. The key source for my theoretical part is Aristotle. Aristotle (Physics II 4) criticises the existence of views that contested chance and, more generally, the prevailing ambiguous attitude towards chance. According to Aristotle, the term chance is often used inconsistently, on one hand denying its existence and on the other hand, talking about things occurring by chance. Aristotle was dissatisfied with the fact that the concept of chance was used randomly without any analysis of its nature. According to Aristotle, the concept of chance is worth exploring. I rephrase my own view of chance in successful artistic process on the basis of Aristotle’s observations on chance. It is an event occurring in the context of goals that is 1. unpredictable, 2. surprising, 3. without explanation and 4. perceived as meaningful. Having done this, I tested my vision and took a closer look at Francis Bacon's and John Cage's views on making art with the help of chance. Finally, I looked at the concept of nothingness. I would for instance like to suggest that in addition to emptiness, nothingness can be understood as indivisibility. This describes it as one phase of artistic work, as indivisible or undifferentiated. The econd question relates to the subject of nothingness in relation to chance. I will give two answers to the question: 1. There is no chance in nothingness, and 2. nothingness is chance. The frame of reference for the first response is artistic work, and its two phases are nothing and something. A characteristic of the nothingness phase is that the action does not contain detailed objectives. By definition, chance occurs in the context of the goals. In the nothingness phase the context goals are not present in the required manner, so the conditions of chance are not met. The frame of reference for the second answer is determinism. On the basis of the principle of reason formulated by Leibniz, all that exists has a reason. By definition, chance does not have a specific explanation, so it can be understood from the perspective of the principle as nothingness.
    Translated title of the contributionSattuma taiteen tapahtumisen välineenä
    Original languageFinnish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    Print ISBNs978-952-60-7867-0
    Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-7868-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


    • visual art
    • painting
    • artistic work
    • work of art
    • art
    • chance
    • nothingness
    • Aristotle


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