Jens Einhorn (b. 1980, Leisnig, Germany) makes paintings that speak to interior worlds and psychological landscapes. Having grown up in East Germany, he was surrounded by gritty concrete streets, burgeoning junkyards, derelict shelters, and the greener edges at the urban periphery. Tracing the fragments of such memories and the fleeting impressions of his surroundings, Einhorn blends these with other influences, ranging from niche punk or graffiti subcultures and poignant socio-political events, to lyrics from records that he listens to while he works, which end up on the canvas’s edges. These references fuse into strange stories with obscure narratives and a mood of bizarrely joyful play. Turning the canvases as he goes, Einhorn’s process combines painting and collage, layering oil, acrylic, spray paint and ink with materials like mesh, fabric and tar paper in an experimental practice. His surfaces are built up by mark making, removing, collaging, tearing out, pasting, and over painting, again and again. Sometimes he also spontaneously incorporates unexpected found objects — uncalculated moments that take the work in unanticipated directions. Having previously created large-scale canvases, over the past years, Einhorn has focused on medium- and small-scale formats, as is the case with his most recent paintings. These bring into existence dreamlike realms, merging great swathes of vibrant colour and pattern with a whole host of playful characters: long, languorous sunbeams, all-knowing eyes, and wilting flowers preside over butterflies, snakes, and horses with human heads, a smiling ladybird, giant ducks, and wild blue dogs sprinting into the distance. With these, Einhorn ultimately seeks to materialise a sense of our fragile existence; of the mutable and constantly changeable nature of life, and the shaky ground that we wilfully walk upon, never quite knowing what happens next, or what we might dare to imagine. Einhorn received a Master’s degree from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, studying under the professorship of Tal R and Andreas Schulze. He lives and works in Berlin.
Louisa Elderton, 2023