Unseen Amsterdam 2020

from Saturday 19 September till Monday 21 September

Gashouder Westergas

Klönneplein 1
1014 DD Amsterdam

John Kayser

Gallery Gerhard Hofland proudly presents the outsider photographer John Kayser (1922-2007). His body of work contains various photographs and films, in which he depicts the female body. In the 1960s he started working with photography and films in California, his hometown. This singular and secretive body of works span over a period of nearly 30 years and was discovered only after his death in 2007. In this sense, he was more akin to an outsider than someone who was deliberately engaged with the art world in the traditional sense. 

The pictures he took rival in their originality and vision with the masters in depicting the female form. In the very least, he provided an entirely unique and seductive point of view. The work of Kayser is comparable to other outsiders such as Miroslov Tichý, Vivian Maeir, Type 42, Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. Just like Kayser they were also not discovered until after their death.

Within his work he always stayed true to his core vision of beauty as relates to the female figure. While all of his works contain erotic, obsessive and sometimes even perverse overtones, these words fail to capture all of the nuance visible in what he made. This is empathised when one considers the photographs Kayser took of clothed women in various outdoor settings or includes himself in it. This introduces questions to the viewer about the dynamic layers within the photographs and the sexuality and Kayser’s relationship with these women.

A theme within his work are photographs in which Kayser makes the women sit on various objects, mostly naked, sometimes clothed and every now and again on Kayser himself. This is a subject that reoccurs in his work a lot and placing these women in various positions allowed him to express his obsession towards the female body. By choosing to present this theme in a solo booth at Unseen Amsterdam 2020, we can introduce Kayser to the Dutch art world in a distinct way.

John Kayser (1922-2007, US) lived and worked in Los Angeles, California. Since the 1960s Kayser had been making photographs and films, yet wasn’t discovered until after his death. His house and the streets of Los Angeles were stage for the private rituals that defined his obsession with female beauty. He served briefly during the Second World War as an armorer, a position that corresponds to his life-long employment with Northrup Aircraft Incorporated in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited at Delmes & Zander in Berlin and Cologne, Germany, Galerie Christian Berst in New York, US, FARAGO in Los Angeles, US and The Journal Gallery in Brooklyn, US. His photographs have also been the subject of two books published by Ampersand Editions – Sitting and Rose.

John Kayser

John Kayser