José Johann Seinen
Netherlands, 1934 - 2012
José Johann Seinen produced, with obsessive care, a unique body of work that could be compared to a personal mythology where archaeology and science fiction are intertwined. As a child, José began drawing exercise books designed like pop-up books filled with robots and – from the start – careful, minuscule cut-outs, small figures of a private theatre that the boy moved around in sets drawn to their scale. As a young adult, Seinen was employed at the bank where both his father and grandfather had worked. He then opened a travel agency where he met his second wife, who came from Colombia. He spent the rest of his life in Bogota, shutting himself up for days on end in a small, spartan room to escape into his own universe. Seinen, extremely erudite, had extensive knowledge of ancient history and owned a library of thousands of rare books. When he died, his wife discovered 22 boxes filled with his life’s work: thousands of extremely precise drawings, serial accumulations of figures and objects, often carefully cut out and classified in envelopes.