In the beginning, there were pebbles and twigs and cracks in the ground and leaves fallen where the wind blew them randomly. It was an area of observation maybe no more than a foot wide. Then, I made small abstract drawings of those pebbles, twigs and leaves and how they were lying, trying to create a new form.

Randomness tamed? The Experiment.

Randomness cannot possibly be controlled but it can be programmed or turned into a personal approach. Roman Scheidl starts out by observing nature, which he considers to be a natural test layout. There may be some relationship between his consistency in taking up the way things are arranged naturally and the far-eastern concept of having to bow down low to read from small things. If you can read from those small things, they are bound to be meaningful, to carry a message, albeit one that differs from western thinking.

The meaning is there whether we are able to read it or not. In this type of communication, we are on the receiving rather than the sending end. It is up to us to allow for meaning to develop without us intervening. If this is how you decide to work, you have to give loss of self-control priority over intention, leaving control up to your id – in a slightly psychoanalytical sense. In this particular case, however, „id“ does not refer to drives. On the contrary, it means your subconsciously becoming one with the meaning of things. Of course, this is equivalent to some degree of contemplation or mediation.

Any western artist will find it very difficult to adopt this approach. But, there are various techniques he may choose from to achieve similar results. Roman Scheidl first chose randomness. He added to it by blind drawing, gaining speed and practice by closing his eyes and putting symbols down on a sheet of paper with fast-paced, rhythmic touches of an ink brush. It was no coincidence that he started out drawing letters and figures, i.e. symbols the hand and motor system are routinely familiar with. As your confidence grows in the process, you will become more spontaneous. This is precisely what Roman Scheidl was trying to achieve, intending to leave behind his narrative way of drawing in his early work, when every figure and virtually every stroke was applied quite consciously.

The blind drawings were the result of a first systematic attempt at this approach. Others and more elaborate ones were to follow. His toying with Tarot cards and I Ching was another way of experimenting with randomness. When laid out or thrown at random, the 22 cards and eight motifs he made respectively would define new tasks to accomplish in sort of a self-inflicted call to combine the different motifs. In the process, he would repeat and recombine these motifs over and over again. Imposed repetition trained his hand, gave it confidence and eventually made it possible for him to quote himself with ease at any time. Hundreds of similar drawings of frequently repeated motifs provided room for identifying, studying and consciously producing subtle nuances. Opportunities he would never have imagined opened up for him to play variations on a theme and find new and almost unlimited ways of widening, and going around, themes that used to be narrowly confined, of letting variations flow freely.