Christopher Hollins

United Kingdom (residence) °1946

Researching the theory that a modern artist is a person who is trying to rediscover a primal state of mind. Hollins believes traditional art practices arose in prehistory to impose a sense of intelligent control over sight, shape, sound and movement to suppress our older instinctive 'animal' way of sensing. Hollins excelled at art in school but was considered to be a misfit and left at 15 with no formal qualifications. He worked on a car assembly line until, at 20, he walked out and did odd jobs whilst formulating his theory. He says, “ I cannot tell you how I arrived at this idea. I think it had something to do with the way my lack of higher education made me look at everything from an ‘outsider’ point of view. It forced me to make my own interpretation rather than accept the established theories. My idea might not be to everyone’s taste but art is not about what you like or dislike. Art is about trying to see the world around us through emotive ‘feelings’ that are unlike anything our intelligence has ever learned to comprehend. I am convinced these ‘emotions’ are animal in origin and impart us with a power to perception we have evolved to keep subdued in the deepest oldest areas of our mind".



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Exposition: The theory of coincidences (13/09/2012) by Alberto Magrin
Christopher Hollins 16/09/2012 at 13:38

A theory of coincidences in art would have to differentiate itself from the concept as it is formulated in science. Coincidence, in science, would only apply if a chance occurrence of events displayed simultaneous or identical results despite different initial conditions. For a scientist the existence of a coincidence implies an event has occurred beyond known parameters and this would initiate a search for experiment to show that the event was not coincidental, but was the result of unknown cause and effect.

    For example: If I throw a ball it will follow a path to a given point of impact with the ground. This path can be measured and predicted. If I repeat the exact set of circumstances - the power of the throw, the direction of the aim, the wind speed and the density of the atmosphere and the gravitational effect, etc. - the ball will land in exactly the same place time and time again. This is not coincidence but an observed fact brought about by cause and effect. Coincidence would occur if I threw a ball one-day in a strong wind and threw it again from the same spot on another day in calm air, but it landed in exactly the same place. This would be a remarkable coincidence that could, theoretically, happen. I could chose a set of numbers at random and win the lottery but is this coincidence or is it because a set of circumstances exist that allow, from millions of combinations of numbers, for a match to eventually occur?

      In art, this definition of coincidence would have to show us that a controlled result can be arrived at by chance or accident. For a painter this would require the creation of a work that displays repetition of images from an uncontrolled input of circumstances that would give identical results time after time. An example of this would be to throw paint at random so that it always formed the same pattern. This, obviously, is unlikely to occur. If I keep throwing paint there is a greater chance a matching of a pattern will occur but, like the lottery, the chances of winning are millions to one. In music, coincidences in art would imply choosing musical notes at random and creating an identical score time after time without any input from the composers knowledge of arrangement. We know this is also very unlikely to occur. We understand that to create repetitious images or music requires a controlled and organised input from an artist’s mind. To formulate a theory of coincidence in art an artist would have to find a way to display controlled results without input. The artist would only be involved in setting up the variables at the beginning of a work that will, once set in motion, create the required result. These variables would have to ensure that they never repeat themselves but, from this, a repetitive image or musical score would emerge.

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