Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers

The Old Library, Chester

Friday 7 June – Sunday 8 September 2019

Chester Visual Arts (CVA) brings the major V&A exhibition Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers to Chester this summer. Featuring key artworks from the pioneers of digital art over the last 50 years, this groundbreaking exhibition is being held in the city – its first touring venue following the V&A – and is another significant milestone towards the organisation’s objective to establish a permanent contemporary art gallery in Chester.

With over 40,000 local, national and international visitors having attended CVA exhibitions since 2017, this third exhibition of a successful long-term partnership with the V&A, which has been funded by the Tyrer Charitable Trust, demonstrates the continued appetite for world-class visual art in the city.

Since the 1960s, artists and programmers have used computers to create prints, drawings, paintings, photographs and digital artworks. Chance and Control draws on the V&A’s rich international collection of computer-generated art and includes work by pioneering digital artists such as Frieder Nake and Georg Nees – who produced some of the earliest computer art – through to the younger generation of artists practicing today. It offers viewers the rare opportunity to trace the chronological development of digital art, exploring how aspects of chance and control shaped the creative process and produced vivid and original artworks.

CVA will continue to develop its educational activities, which has seen new relationships forged with secondary schools and universities across the region over the last several months. A dedicated programme of events, tours, workshops, and a Travelling Presentation will be available to secondary schools and colleges throughout the exhibition.

Ian Short, Chairman of Chester Visual Arts said:

“We’re delighted to strengthen our relationship with the V&A by bringing this groundbreaking exhibition to Chester. Our lives are increasingly defined by our relationship with digital technologies; Chance and Control traces how artists were – and continue to be – at the vanguard of new possibilities. It is a very timely

exhibition. The excellent visitor response to the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize demonstrates the continuing appetite for high-quality visual art in the city and the desire for a permanent gallery. Alongside this, we are pleased to continue our educational offer for schools and young people in the region.”

Dr Helen Charman, Director of Learning and National Programmes at the V&A:

“Chance and Control explores the impact of the computer on the relationship between art and technology, within an important tradition at the V&A of collecting digital art and design. We are delighted to be collaborating with Chester Visual Arts for the third time in 2 years, so that this fascinating and timely display can be enjoyed by an even wider audience this summer.”

Douglas Dodds, Head of Digital Collections and Services at the V&A, commented:

“We’re delighted that the Chance and Control exhibition’s UK tour is starting in Chester. The show also includes early work by Paul Brown, who attended art college in Liverpool, and Desmond Paul Henry, who lived and worked in Manchester.”

The exhibition has been made possible thanks to funding from Cheshire-based charity the Tyrer Charitable Trust.

Clive Pointon, Chairman of the Trust and head of the acclaimed Wills, Trusts and Tax team at Chester-based law firm Aaron & Partners, said: “We’re thrilled to be playing a key role in bringing this exhibition to Chester. It promises to be a unique experience and will attract a wide range of interest from city visitors, with a huge range of artwork that really showcases the development of digital art over the past 50 years.

“It’s also fantastic to see an empty building in the former city centre library transformed into an art gallery in this way. On behalf of the Trust, we’re delighted to be continuing our work bringing important works of art to the Cheshire region for people to see and enjoy.”

Created by the V&A – touring the nation.

With thanks to The Westminster Foundation for providing additional funding for the exhibition, which has also been supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

For further information about the exhibition please visit