About Wouter Nijland

At first you wouldn’t say, but the work of artist Wouter Nijland (b. 1980) is determined by chance. Literally. It is as unpredictable as daily life, which happens to be his main inspiration. Before he starts out, Wouter decides on the framework of his paintings (like size and grid), but hereafter he leaves it all to chance.

When he paints a line, he draws from a raffle of numbered marbles to determine its gradient. A flip of a coin will make up whether a certain patch will be filled in or left blank. And if it’s filled, will it be with horizontal or vertical lines? Again the coin decides. 

In his use of colour, chance plays a decisive role too. The artist uses ten different colours of oil paint, which he mixes to black. The colour black also ensures that the viewer isn’t distracted by emotions and associations evoked by any pronounced use of colour. 

Nijland has been working with this system since 2006, when he was in his final year of his studies at the Minerva Academy or Arts in Groningen, the Netherlands.