David Fried, CHANCE MATTERS, 2023 solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures at David Behning Contemporary Art, Duesseldorf

CHANCE MATTERS | Where does joy come from? Does it come from an enlightened state of mind that can find true happiness even in the worst state of affairs? Does it come from being able to formulate, manipulate, control and predict outcomes – achieving exactly as planned – or does it come from finding oneself on a path or in a moment where the most intriguing outcomes arise through chance? The pleasure of “Couldn’t plan it better” is something we all know. The artist David Fried 's entire life embodies this philosophy. His art emerges from his curiosity with a healthy dose of playfulness and dedicated experimentation. Time, Chaos and Chance are his God and Muse. Fried looks into the probabilistic space between the known and the unknown, influence over control, interdependent systems-thinking, and the unintended consequences of human endeavors. Fried's art touches on an undeniably important yet disregarded universal common denominator, where all chance matters.

CHANCE MATTERS | Was macht uns glücklich? Ist es ein erleuchteter Geisteszustand, der selbst im Schlimmsten noch das Beste sieht? Ist es die Fähigkeit, die Folgen unseres Handelns zu manipulieren, zu kontrollieren und vorherzusagen – so dass das Erhoffte eintritt? Oder sind es die Momente, in denen die überraschendsten Dinge durch Zufall geschehen? Das großartige Gefühl, dass die Erkenntnis “Man hätte es nicht besser planen können” begleitet, kennen wir alle. Das ganze Leben des Künstlers David Fried zielt auf solche Momente ab und macht aus ihnen eine Philosophie. In diesem Sinne entsteht Frieds Kunst aus seiner Neugierde, die von einer gesunden Portion Spielfreude und einem Hang zum Experimetieren begleitet wird. Chaos und Zufall sind sein Gott und seine Muse. Er stellt seine Beobachtungen im Wahrscheinlichkeitsraum zwischen Bekanntem und Unbekanntem an, beeinflusst, anstatt zu kontrollieren, denkt in interdependenten Zusammenhängen und spürt die unbeabsichtigten Folgen menschlichen Handelns auf. Frieds Arbeiten berühren einen oft übersehenen doch zweifellos wichtigen und universell gültigen Punkt: Jeder Zufall spielt eine Rolle.



In his series of paintings titled “Emergent Polarism”, Fried reflects on the emergent qualities of cognitive thought. With these works, the artist is asking us to imagine the earliest moments in the psychological process of perceiving and combining disparate input fragments, into the formulation of cohesive thought. He looks to the origin of thought itself in a pre-lingustic language.

Like an undefined percolation of physiological, emotional signals and conditions where the yet unconnected connections mingle in a symbolic alphabet soup of potentials. Before a thought can take a direction, let alone conclusion, the primordial impulses, triggers and interdependent conditions which lead us to the fruition of a whole thought, and therefor towards systems of belief, are what fascinates Fried.

Like energy itself, there exists an excitement, a random flux, a polarity, before a recognizable pattern can emerge. While thought itself can be found in many flavors, Fried's conceptual focus is on the birth of spontaneous thought, rather than the furtherance of pre-known programs or concepts. His inspiration is found in the Eureka and Heuristic moments. The instantaneous small or big bang of thought, if you will.

His minimal language of suggestive shapes float alone in a blank and spacious universe, yet they seem somehow purposeful, intimately connected in a way, as if they acknowledge each other, positively or negatively charged, with a probabilistic tendency to interact and coelesce while dancing to a similar tune.

That similar 'tune' would likely be ourselves. And however tuned-in, conditioned and programed we all may be, we are each very unique. Like the saying goes, you are what you think.

In a world of highly influenced, opinionated individuals and bubbles of like mindedness, Fried celebrates emergent thought itself and the critical ability to critically think for one's self.


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