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This Californian artist, who died in 2010, had a degree in chemical engineering. Fascinated by meditation and metaphysics, he sought to unravel the mysteries of existence through formulas and numbers drawn from his own history. This “conceptual brut” artist sometimes photocopied his work to distribute it to as many people as possible. In 2014, Daniel Baumann introduced him to the 548 Center in New York. The following year, we entrusted Gael Charbau with writing an essay and curing the monographic exhibition held at the gallery. In the same year, Alfred Pacquement, former director of Pompidou, presented a John Urho Kemp installation at the Musée des Beaux-arts in Paris.

john uro kemp - © anonymous, christian berst — art brut
Date 1942 — 2010
Country United States

John Urho Kemp (1942-2010) graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1965 with a degree in chemical engineering and biochemistry.  He worked as a chemical engineer for almost two years, then quit to study Scientology in England and Los Angeles until 1971.  He spent the next decade running an antique store in Los Angeles.  Amongst other interests, he traveled the world to witness solar eclipses and frequented hot springs of Northern California. Throughout his life he sought revelations through meditation, metaphysics, formulas, and numbers, recorded primarily in pencil and pen on the blank surfaces of scrap papers.

Much of his work was refined and compiled into compact documents that were then photocopied and leafletted as a means of sharing his findings with as many people as he could.  An online archive of his work is underway, and includes poems, equations, drawings, and collages from 1979-2010.

We owe the rescue and archiving of his numerous works to his friend, the photographer Aram Muksian, namely thousands of pages, diagrams, sketches and numerical sequences, to the point of colonizing endless bundles of dot-matrix printer paper.
Daniel Baumann – curator, art critic and current director of the Kunsthalle of Zürich as well as of the Wölfli Foundation in Berne – dedicated an exhibit to him at the 548 Center in NY in 2014.

Artworks
Please contact us to inquire about the available works.
untitled (The Word) - © christian berst — art brut
untitled (The Word), 1999
8.27 x 10.63 in
untitled, double-sided (jesus christs pitaka + formula) - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, double-sided (jesus christs pitaka + formula), 1998
8.27 x 10.63 in
untitled (e=), 8 sheets - © christian berst — art brut
untitled (e=), 8 sheets, 1986
68.11 x 10.63 in
untitled (the mark of the beast) - © christian berst — art brut
untitled (the mark of the beast), 1999
10.63 x 8.27 in
untitled (The Pentameron) - © christian berst — art brut
untitled (The Pentameron), 2000
7.48 x 3.15 in
untitled (the miracle weight) - © christian berst — art brut
untitled (the miracle weight), 1999
10.63 x 8.27 in
untitled, double-sided - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, double-sided, 2005
10.63 x 8.27 in
untitled, 2 sheets (Death and hell) - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2 sheets (Death and hell), 2007
16.93 x 10.63 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2007
10.63 x 8.27 in
Exhibitions
Fiac
#47, Grand Palais. From October 21 to 25, 2020.
Ojo electrico
Casa Encendida, Madrid. September 24, 2019.
beyond
on the edge of the visible and the invisible, at the gallery. From March 7 to April 13, 2019.
do the write thing 2
read between the lines, at the gallery. From April 26 to June 2, 2018.
drawing now 2018
Carreau du Temple. From March 22 to 25, 2018.
View more
The Museum of everything
Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania. From June 17, 2017 to April 2, 2018.
in abstracto
at the gallery. From June 8 to July 15, 2017.
Art Brut
A Story of Individual Mythologies , Treger Saint Silvestre Collection, Portugal . From January 1 to February 26, 2017.
Brut Now
art brut in the technological era, Belfort Museums . From October 29, 2016 to January 16, 2017.
Cracking The Code
Appleton Square, Lisbonne. From October 7 to November 3, 2016.
YIA
art fair, Espace Louise 186, Bruxelles. From April 21 to 24, 2016.
On The Wire
by Jean-Hubert Martin, at the gallery. From April 9 to May 22, 2016.
PreTENse
at the Gallery. From September 12 to October 10, 2015.
John Urho Kemp
a Bermuda Triangle, at the gallery. From May 30 to July 18, 2015.
CHOICES
2015, Palais des Beaux Arts, Paris . From May 29 to 31, 2015.
exhibition view of *the beyond : on the edge of the visible and the invisible*, christian berst art brut, paris, 2019. - © christian berst art brut, photo: elena groud, christian berst — art brut
exhibition view of *do the write thing 2: read between the lines*, christian berst art brut, paris, 2018. - © christian berst art brut, christian berst — art brut
Exhibition view of *John Urho Kemp : a Bermuda triangle*, christian berst art brut, Paris, 2015. - © christian berst art brut, christian berst — art brut
Press review
à l’avant-garde : john urho kemp – sans titre – 2002
Delphine Neimon, The Artchemists. June 6, 2017.
de l’art brut art high-tech
Stéphanie Lemoine, L’oeil. January 10, 2017.
Une œuvre d’art a-t-elle toujours un sens ?
Philippe Godin, Diagonale De L’art - Blog Libération. June 18, 2015.
John Urho Kemp – Un triangle des Bermudes
Benedicte Phillipe, Telerama Sortir. June 10, 2015.
Abracadabrantesque
Alain Berland, Mouvement.net. June 2, 2015.
View more
Les Jeudis Arty, la nocturne d’art contemporain revient dans le Marais le 4 juin
Tania Brimson, Timeout. June 1, 2015.
CHOICES PARIS 2015
Guillaume Benoît, Slash. May 29, 2015.
Collections
Piet Meyer collection
Switzerland
Antoine de Galbert collection
France
collection Laurent Dumas
France
abcd / Bruno Decharme collection
France
Treger Saint Silvestre collection
Portugal
View more
Antoine Frérot collection
France
Emmanuelle and Guy Delcourt collection
France
Amr Shaker collection
Switzerland
Video
Mathématiques Métaphysique Art
Language French
John Urho Kemp

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