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Porzellan Und Vulkan


The work of Jens Einhorn originates in opposition. Born in the former DDR, Einhorn became obsessed with the transformation of the urban landscape of East-Germany in the early nineties, continuously subjected to a dynamic between natural forces such as decay and overgrowth, and the re-appropriation of buildings and spaces. Much like all urban periphery, these spaces of metamorphosis raise questions about what is freedom and what is control, what is natural and man-made, and echo an energy that has been giving way to numerous subcultures that find treasure in what others may deem trash.


Einhorn borrowed the title of this exhibition from Gilles Deleuze’s essay Porcelaine et Volcan (1969). Deleuze metaphorically describes the walk of life as a crack in porcelain; a frontier between the soft, molten lava of the internal, ready to erupt, and the impressions and noise of the external, impacting the surface. Both these forces inevitably inform and guide this crack, as a river that constitutes the essence of our fragile existence. It is a clever reminder of the ambivalence and vulnerability of our lives determined by the constant struggle between what happens inside of us and that which affects us from the outside.


This sense of opposition, and the essence of a continuous transformation this produces, quite literally shape Einhorn’s work. Using tarpaper – an industrial, yet naturally resistant material – Einhorn cuts out shapes that are both urban in representation and organic in appearance, and that refer to the contrasted spaces of the urban periphery. The qualities of the tarpaper make it difficult to shape it, and the artist is in constant struggle between the ambition to create and a material that hardly allows him to do so. At the same time, the visual properties of the tarpaper also reflect on the exhibition title: the grainy black tar immediately reminds of solidified lava that once poured from the earths interior, while the shiny and delicate surface of the material, and the particular method to shape it, reminds much more of the specific properties of porcelain. The shapes that are produced throughout these inherent oppositions are laid out, arranged, withdrawn, and rearranged, continuously transforming the surfaces that will become Einhorn’s wall-based works. As such, his collages become an interplay between carefully planned design and intuition, motion and rest, and freedom and control.

From the Press Release of "Porzellan und Vulkan" at Gerhard Hofland Amsterdam 26 May – 30 June 2018

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