The Moment: Friedrich Einhoff

The Moment: Friedrich Einhoff

Apr 06 - May 19, 2024


Collective and individual memories are always ephemeral and fragile.  Friedrich Einhoff’s art, however, engages in a struggle against the relentless fading of human remembrance, simultaneously embodying an attitude of both resilience and vulnerability.

He does not merely strive and chase after lost time through repeated acts of recollection; rather, he attempts to present an attitude of neutral, detached serenity that prevents him from drifting into a state of melancholy. This approach enables viewers who have just journeyed through his art to return to their everyday lives enriched by an open-minded sense of imagination and contemplation.

Under Friedrich Einhoff’s inspired brush and hands, his depictions of isolated body parts resemble his portraits. Their imperishable symbolic significance causes them to exude a peculiar sense of power and dignity. They appear to flourish only when hidden and veiled in silence.

The artist has always concentrated his attention on the timing of the appearance of these figures — when they can be simply replicated, and when they need to be presented as independent entities that have never been meant to stand for any specific individual.

Consequently, Einhoff’s paintings, whether in part or as a whole, present a distant, severe and resolute, at times almost sacred, sculptural form.

They hold a strong intrinsic attraction, but are mixed with a sense of strangeness brought about by the passage of time.

If portraits display Einhoff’s profound contemplation of human destiny, his rigorous observation and depiction of details reflect his remarkable mindfulness and consistency. 

Even in small-scale creations no larger than the palm of the hand, one may still clearly see the skeletal structures he portrayed within his translucent bodies, the precise proportions of facial features under various transformative masks, and the charcoal-drawn contour lines, either decisive or entangled in a net of subtle undulations, and even the monumental quietness behind the stumps of one of the limbs. ...... 

Every time the gaze sets out wandering about Einhoff’s painted world, new delights surface out of the shadows. The artist’s serene and unassuming nature never allowed him to cut corners or resort to shortcuts, preferring instead to incorporate all the clues and paths of his creative process within the painting itself. His ceaseless daily painting practice, the physicality of his artworks, the traces of his creative process… It is from all these elements combined that he seems to have drawn the necessary sustainment for his very existence.

When appreciating or evaluating Einhoff's works, many people subjectively tend to interpret them in terms of some  "obvious" suffering, as if we were supposed to be instinctively drawn to the darker aspects of life. However, this may often be regarded as nothing more than a one-sided appropriation on the viewer’s part.

The miniatures of daily sketches in this exhibition provide a unique glimpse into the artist’s meticulous, warmhearted, and even humorous nature. It is important to note that despite all the genuine or apparent hardships he encountered in life and art, Einhoff steadfastly maintained an optimistic and humble outlook, content with reprising day after day his observations and records of the world through countless sketches, carrying them a little further every time.

These sketches are so detailed ordinarily yet amazing, whether it is the healing in a swimming pool,  the bright hues of flowers and animals, or the vibrant greenery of a group of siblings, we can clearly experience the contagious enthusiasm and joy that the creation of the works themselves sparked within the artist.

Even if it is hard to overlook the profound contemplation and timeless dimension in Einhoff's work, we must believe that in the moments spent with friends,  students and family, or even during solitary moments, he found contentment and happiness.

Einhoff's works are not framed in a particular moment; instead, the images document his journey. 

The reason why the moment is important is that it is the only time we truly possess and  experience. 

The past has already become  history, the future is yet to come. Only the present is what we can feel, shape, and control.  Darkness cannot be eliminated, but you can light a candle in this moment.

At the same time, we will be launching Einhoff's first bilingual Chinese-English art book, Soul Vessels, which is curated and compiled by W.ONESPACE, with an introduction by Dr. Evelin Hust,Consulate General of the Republic of Germany in Shanghai, designed by Liang Qing, and published by Zhejiang People's Fine Arts Publishing House. 

Despite residing in the bustling port city of Hamburg, Germany, this understated and elusive artist, Einhoff, has rarely ventured outside of Europe to travel to other countries due to his physical condition and family reasons in his 82-year life.

However, his works have unexpectedly already influenced many Chinese audiences for a long time.

It has been an extraordinary two years since we decided to publish a bilingual book of Einhoff's paintings at the end of 2021. 

Rather than unveiling the complete scope of the artist's work, our aim with this book is to endeavor to portray the artist's true story and personal life interests to the best of our ability.. 

After all, Einhoff's artwork is the vessel of his experiences, his attitude and himself. 

In the end, we would like to express our sincere gratitude once again to those individuals and institutions who have generously supported the publication of this book. We also hope that through this exhibition and the publication of this book, more viewers can gain insights into Einhoff's real life and the stories behind his artworks. 

Leaving aside the discussion of the era's background and artistic techniques, can we truly appreciate the artist's profound understanding and cherishment of the precious experience that the moment brings?

Text/Hu Jiwen


  • 5 Figuren 85/01

    Acrylic, charcoal and sand on canvas
    190 x 140 cm
  • Miniaturen 12/86

    Acrylic and sand on cardboard
  • Dunkler Kopf

    Acrylic, charcoal and soil on paper
    34 x 25 cm
  • Kopf 08/29

    Acrylic, charcoal and soil on paper
    25 x 19 cm
  • Tiefe Wasser 17/33

    Acrylic, charcoal and soil on canvas
    33 x 18.5 cm
  • Figuren im Wasser 94/76

    Acrylic, charcoal and sand on canvas
    18 x 27.5 cm
  • Ziegenbad 12/158

    Acrylic, charcoal and soil on canvas
    27.5 x 24 cm
  • Kleine Serie 2018 >18/03.15

    Acrylic, charcoal and soil on photograph
    15.2 x 10.1 cm
  • Ohne Titel 95/05

    Acrylic, charcoal and soil on canvas
    55 x 52 cm
  • Zwei Figuren 94/42

    Acrylic, charcoal and soil on canvas
    55 x 52 cm