Since the beginning of her career, Geyer, who was born in Germany in 1971 and now lives and works in New York, has been interested in stories and figures that have been unlearned or left out of our collective memory. As a young artist, she found herself living outside of mainstream culture—and increasingly aware of how the achievements of minority groups (women, homosexuals, people of color) had been glossed over by popular history. “If you’re not part of a particular mainstream, then you realize early on that something is not quite right, no matter where you look,” she recalls.
In one early work, Spiral Lands (2007–2009), Geyer explored the history of colonialism in America, and the role of photography in building a narrative of the West as an unoccupied territory, “which of course, it was not,” she says.
Through images, ephemera, and text, the piece imagined the experience of a fictional female photographer who traveled across the Southwest trying to make sense of the country and its past. In the process, she realized that her knowledge of America’s founding had been incomplete—absent the displacement and struggle of American Indians—and “recognized the necessity to entirely rethink how to relate herself to history,” Geyer explains.
For the past six years, however, Geyer’s interest in erased histories has focused on the stories of real women. In particular, her research around Revolt, They Said spurred a succession of performances, sculptures, collages, and installations that uncover the buried narratives of women associated with Modernism.