John Urho Kemp

United States of America, 1942 – 2010

John Urho Kemp 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, but soon quit his job to study Scientology in England and Los Angeles until 1971, and spent the next decade operating an antiques’ business in Los Angeles. 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, including poems, equations, drawings and collages from 1979 to 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 which colonize endless bundles of dot-matrix printer paper.