Chance, Order, Change (Three Colours)
In 1969 Kenneth Martin began working on a series of drawings, prints and paintings which he titled Chance and Order. In these works, Martin began by marking out a grid of squares and a set of rules for connecting the intersecting points, which were determined by randomly selected cards. Martin was fascinated by the unpredictable activity set in motion by these guiding rules and the tension between chance and order in the artworks that they generated.
Martin wrote and lectured about the Chance and Order series in the 1970s and early 1980s and the works were the focus of his exhibitions in the final years of his life. He described his process of constructing the Chance and Order works in detail in 1973:
‘Recently I have made works which combine chance and programming in the time sequence of activity. The drawings and their resulting paintings and prints I have called Chance and order. Not only does chance define position, it gives sequence also. The points of intersection on a grid of squares are numbered and the numbers are written on small cards and then picked at random. A line is made between each successive pair of numbers as they are picked out. In early drawings, to show and use the fact that each direction was drawn in sequence, a system of parallel lines was invented. They were always on the same side of the direction throughout a work. Chance determined the sequence and also the number of parallel lines to each. 1 line would serve for the first drawn, 2 for the second, 3 for the third and so on. Each block of lines and spaces was drawn underneath the preceding ones and did not pass through them.’ 
In later works, such as Chance, Order, Change (Three Colours), Martin introduced ‘Change’ into the series title. In a lecture in 1982 he clarified how the three elements of chance, order and change informed his working process: ‘Chance gives me a primary order, a number sequence. This is my ‘motif’. The order I can develop. Change is what can take place subsequently within the work.’ 
This screenprint is one of two works that Kenneth Martin submitted for EXACTA, an exclusive portfolio of graphic work, compiled by Fausta Squatriti and Getulio Alviani between 1980 and 1985 in Milan. Twenty-seven leading artists associated with international geometric abstraction were invited to contribute two related prints for the portfolio: one from an early phase of research, and another to show how this research had developed in their later practice. 
Lisa Newby, November 2020
In October 1984, the University of East Anglia accepted a planned bequest from Joyce and Michael Morris (UEA Alumni). Michael died in 2009 and Joyce in December 2014 when the couple's wishes were implemented.
Not on display
Title/Description: Chance, Order, Change (Three Colours)
Artist/Maker: Kenneth Martin
Object Type: Print
Accession Number: 31561
Historic Period: 20th century
Copyright: © Estate of Kenneth and Mary Martin
Credit Line: Bequeathed by Joyce and Michael Morris, 2014