John Kersten

Visual Art

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The visual art of John Kersten consists largely of constructed objects. These can be free-standing or bas-relief. He also makes drawings, which sometimes serve as drafts for the objects, sometimes form part of a series, and in other instances are stand-alone works.

The word ‘drawing’ should therefore be understood in its broadest sense. For example, these works can be painted, however the paint is then used to draw rather than in a painterly manner. In their diversity of materials, the common thread between the drawings is not colour but form.

Structure, rhythm, symmetry and graphic imagery lend the work a contained yet expressive quality. Thematically there are big differences between the works, and the design varies from organic figurativeness to geometric abstraction. Elements based on both of these can also appear in a single work.

The visual art of John Kersten rarely references nature directly. His starting point is not what can be seen with the eye but one’s internal experience. From there he creates works with a contemplative character which, regarded altogether, create their own world.

The work is clearly connected to cultural history. Similiarities between older and/or other cultures, and the culture in which we live, are an important inspiration, as well as symbols, signs and written language from the past. He uses these sources in a personal and free manner.

Whereas with an artist whose work is based on perception, the human body or landscapes might often be apparent, so John Kersten’s work also presents certain patterns such as cross-like and oval forms, and, as mentioned, intentionally serial work.

The visual art of John Kersten can evoke both recognition and unfamiliarity. The meaning is rarely unambigious and/or explicit. Hereby interpration of his work remains the concern of the individual viewer. The associations that the work evokes can therefore differ strongly from person to person.

Background information

John Kersten (1957) is an artist who currently lives in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. He graduated in Sculpture at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten AKI in Enschede, the Netherlands, in 1985. Since then he has always been making objects and drawings, usually in tandem with other activites or studies, not necessarily in the same subject.

Here is provided only information that is relevant to John Kersten’s art work:

  • Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten AKI, Enschede – subject, Sculpture
  • Open Universiteit, Heerlen – various modules on the subject of Cultural Science
  • SH&M, Woerden/ Centre Vocational training, Apeldoorn – Interior Design/Furniture construction
  • Windesheim School, Zwolle – Teacher training 2nd grade Handicraft
Current discipline
  • sculpture
  • drawing
  • exhibitions
  • newspaper articles
  • posters/ invitations
  • self-publication, 1995
  • personal factsheet 2001
  • personal documentation folder/photos/slides
  • website ( 2010
  • website ( 2015