Karl Heinz Essig (* 25. Oktober 1935; † 19. April 2021) 

Karl Heinz Essig was born on 25th October 1935 in Rheda Wiedenbrück, and completed his training as a interior designer at the Werkkunstschule (Art College) in Kiel. Following the conclusion of his studies , he first worked in a design agency in Hamburg and then, for several years, as a freelance designer of furniture. Already during his studies and his subsequent work experience, art played an important role for Karl Heinz Essig. He constantly focussed on, and examined the art of painting, and in the nineties he gave up his professional activities as designer, in order to exclusively turn to his calling as an artist. Only a few examples of his early work survive, but then, since the nineties, his oeuvre presents itself relatively complete and extensive. However, Karl Heinz Essig has never become a “producer”. He paints, purely, from a feeling, an intuition which prevents him from repeating himself without further developing his art. Over the years, Essig’s works have won increasing public recognition and importance. Numerous national and international showings in art galleries and museums bear witness to the high artistic potential of his works.

First and foremost, Karl Hein Essig is a painter and graphic artist. Frequently, he combines in his works elements of painting, which emphasize colours, with elements of drawings, which emphasize lines and forms. His oeuvre also comprises graphic and lithographical works and, above all, etchings.

Essig’s works fascinate most with their uniqueness. Although most definitely an advocate of art history, he has been successful in freeing himself  from examples, and has found his very own form of expression. Today, Essig’s work is unmistakable and beyond comparison.

In an essay, the art historian Gerhard Charles Rump describes Essig as a “polyphonic, versatile, multi-facetted painter”. His paintings burst all limits of importance, and rarely are they comprehended at first glance. They demand the viewer’s close examination, they may provide hints,  but never dictate a valid interpretation. His are open art works, and far more than merely decorative.

Essig’s pictorial world is a world full of stories. Boundless, often hidden behind small symbols, they open up a multiplicity of possible interpretations. However, there are symbols which the artist uses again and again: the bird, living in freedom, which easily intermingles with figures, animals and plants, and the Augenblumen, flowers with eyes, a fanciful motif of Essig, as naturally alive elements of flora and fauna. In General, nature plays a predominant role in Essig’s works. His paintings are hymns of praise to the fascination of the natural. Above all, in his landscapes full of atmosphere, but also in his numerous still lives of flowers, devotion and respect, but also the request for an appropriate handling of nature co-vibrate.
In his figurative compositions, central figures determine events. With his unique, self-confident and assured lines, in their originality comparable with Picasso’s lines, Karl Heinz Essig does not create human likenesses, but ethereal, supernatural beings. They have their right to existence as figures of art, far removed from reality.  In Essig’s pictures, dreamlike elements, in their imaginative staging, meet repetitive, importance-laden symbols. Always, and at all times, the viewer is aware of an ever-present longing, of something romantically dreamy. The quiet, subdued colours are soft melodies – listening to them is unadulterated pleasure. You can abandon yourself in them, loose yourself, then find yourself again.