15.06 – 27.07.2013
Does God Play Dice? / Stanisław Dróżdż, Adam Jastrzębski

A roll of the dice is simple, the simplest game of all. All players are equal. The result is determined not by skill, dexterity or cunning but by pure luck/ coincidence. The Game of Dice also serves as a basic model for game theory and as a tool in modern probability theory. Dice, as a symbol of coincidence and contingency, thus entered the language of historians, philosophers, mathematicians and artists.


Our two artists seemed to stand more apart than Stanislaus Dróżdż and Adam Jastrzebski - one was a classic, the other was just starting his career; both presented contrasting attitudes - Dróżdż broke down the problem into its component parts, analyzed and aimed to synthesize. By contrast, Jastrzebski constructed Vinyl's – which were sprawling, almost organic, multi-layered structures, busily cutting out intricate forms from self-adhesive foil.

Dróżdż had always considered himself an artist creating concrete poetry. His material was the word - the word which could yield spatial form – hence the term “concept-shapes” which he used when referring to his own work. Jastrzebski also created his own language, which he named Vinylogous.

Both artists referred to philosophy and mathematics - Dróżdż was inspired, among other things, by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jastrzebski kept right on track with the latest research in natural sciences and mathematics. At one point they both reached for the dice. Ten years ago, for the Venice Biennale, Dróżdż created a monumental work consisting of nearly 300,000 dice. The work drew the viewer into a strange game: the artist gave him or her all the possible arrangements of six dice and asked the viewer to find the outcome of a throw performed by the spectator his or herself.

Whereas Dróżdż was cheating luck or fate, Jastrzebski entirely subjugates his work to them both. Although he had created an output code he ends his reign over his work ended at that point. The tedious hours spent cutting up the amorphous form just follow the roll of the dice; it was an observation of how the body of a Vinyl extracted itself from the void. Both artists in a perverse way wrote themselves into the discourse of determinism and avoided taking a position - are we ruled by chance alone or is there any established order in the world? Both artists left the question open.

This famous dispute brought two famous physicists to a simple exchange: Albert Einstein: God does not play dice. Niels Bohr: Albert, do not tell God what to do. These artists seemed to settle the dispute between the physicists by simply asking: does God play dice?
The exhibition also presented an album edition of Dróżdż's work "Alea iacta est" completed with small sets from the original Venetian implementation. Adam Jastrzebski also refered to a set of six dice showing six black Vinyls.