The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, April 26, 2018

New series of paintings by Chinese artist Zhang Enli on view at Hauser & Wirth London
Zhang Enli, Transparent Shelf, 2013. Oil on canvas, 200 x 250 cm / 78 3/4 x 98 3/8 in© Zhang Enli. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

LONDON.- Zhang Enli is a champion of forgotten spaces and objects. His practice is grounded in melancholic portrayals of objects or places from everyday life, through painting, sculpture or installation such as ‘Space Paintings’, in which he paints directly onto the walls, ceilings and floors of a room. For ‘The Box’, Zhang’s second exhibition with Hauser & Wirth in London, the artist presents his first-ever sculptural installation alongside a new series of paintings.

In his paintings, Zhang creates an index of commonplace objects related to humanity. Taking visual material from whatever is close at hand – a piece of string, a hose, a marble ball from the floor of his studio – Zhang draws us into his world, documenting the more prosaic aspects of contemporary life.

Influenced by the loose washes of traditional Chinese brush painting, Zhang dilutes his paint until it is almost like a glaze, leaving pencil-drawn grids visible beneath the layers of paint. By allowing the grids to show through the painted surface, Zhang constantly reminds us that his paintings are artistic constructs, not direct replicas of any given object. The perspective of each painting is skewed to heighten the drama of the object’s shape, but Zhang’s expressive lines and curves are kept in check within this measured framework. In this way the rigid structure of his pencil-drawn grids can be viewed as a means of ordering the chaos of contemporary life.

Zhang’s paintings are rarely produced from direct observation, but from sketches, photographs and, significantly, from his memories of the objects he is depicting. The muted tones and thin application of paint make the objects seem not quite present, as if occupying a liminal reality where only the essence of the object is depicted on the canvas. His subject matter is usually enlarged, so that only a specific fragment of a scene is shown, as seen through the viewfinder on a camera. In ‘Architecture’, Zhang portrays a modern building, but instead of a sweeping cityscape, he hones in on a section of a window, contrasting the transparent bluish hue of the glass pane against the building’s heavy structural lines. Although Zhang chooses to work with grids, a common technique when enlarging photographs, this belies the nature of his practice, since his depictions are not faithful renditions of objects, but highly personal offerings.

His previous series have often taken containers as their subject matter, whereas in his recent work Zhang is occupied with the nets and twine that bind these containers. Three works, ‘The Box’, ‘The Cargo (3)’ and ‘The Package 2’, depict colourless, non-descript shapes, which are transformed into mysterious bundles by a mass of brightly painted knots and tightly bound string. In ‘Transparent Shelf’, Zhang plays with the blankness of the canvas in another way. Here, only loosely sketched horizontal lines suggest the presence of a shelf. It is rainbow-coloured ribbons, which are draped vertically over the shelf’s structure and descend to the floor as a result of gravitational pull, which create the apparition of a ‘shelf’ out of the void.

In his ‘Space Paintings’, Zhang paints directly onto the walls of a room to create nostalgic environments. These range from the abstract, where colour and gesture recall sights and sounds of a particular place, to figurative reproductions of redundant, empty spaces. Zhang renders mould, dirt and stains which climb the walls and spill onto the floor, often alongside marks left by furniture or picture frames – all remnants of human interaction with a room which was once inhabited and is now deserted. His ‘Space Paintings’ depict a kind of negative space, as the viewer uses the marks and absence of objects to re-create presence through imagination.

For ‘The Box’, Zhang engineered a more intimate and completely immersive version of a ‘Space Painting’ by painting the inside of a freestanding plywood box. Whilst Zhang’s paintings on canvas are broadly representational, the narrative element of the ‘Space Paintings’ is determined by the viewer. Zhang’s painting acts as a catalyst for the viewer’s imagination, and for personal narratives which emerge
whilst walking through the painting installation.

Zhang Enli is currently exhibiting at Museo d’Arte contemporanea di Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy, until 5 January 2014. His first ‘Space Painting’ in London, at the ICA, is on display until 22 December 2013. From 4 December 2013 to 1 August 2014, Zhang’s work is included in the group show ’28 Chinese’, works from the Rubell Family Collection at the Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami FL.

Recent solo projects include: ‘Topology’, Hauser & Wirth Zürich (2012); Hauser & Wirth, New York NY (2011); Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2011); Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2010); Hauser & Wirth London (2010); Kunsthalle Bern, Berne, Switzerland (2009), travelling to Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England (2009). Zhang has also produced ‘Space Paintings’ for the 2012 Kochi-Muziris Biennial, Kochi, India and for ‘Thirty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art’, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2010).

Zhang Enli was born in 1965 in Jilin, China. In 1989, he graduated from the Arts & Design Institute of Wuxi Technical University and relocated to Shanghai where he was a teacher at the Arts & Design Institute of Donghua University until 2008. Zhang remained largely overlooked during the post-socialist Chinese art boom of the nineties, escaping the hype of his more fashionable Chinese contemporaries. He is continuing to gain recognition for his work internationally.

Today's News

January 13, 2014

Judge orders Renoir stolen in 1951, found in flea market, to return to Baltimore museum

English artist Saul Fletcher presents a new body of work at Anton Kern Gallery

Felt works from 1972 - 1995 by A.R. Penck on view at Michael Werner Gallery

Major installation by artist Robert Therrien opens at Gagosian Beverly Hills

The Dark Horse: Celebrated sporting artist involved in love triangle with tragic end to sell at Bonhams

Fifteen-year survey of Bharti Kher's practice opens at the Rockbund Art Museum

Exhibition of works by Italian Futurist artists featured at Boca Museum of Art

New book by Zhang Xiao documents old customs originating from pagan ritual practices

Exhibition seeks to question our experience of sound through a range of immersive installations

New series of paintings by Chinese artist Zhang Enli on view at Hauser & Wirth London

Exhibition of new paintings by Japanese artist Tomoo Gokita opens at Mary Boone Gallery

Tanya Bonakdar presents a group exhibition of language and text-based works by gallery artists

"Bob Marley: I and Eye, The Photos of Kim Gottlieb-Walker, 1975-1976" opens at KM Fine Arts

New works by American painter Elliott Lloyd on view at Y Gallery

Exhibition of early works on paper by artist Manny Farber opens at Quint Contemporary Art

Asian Art in Brussels announces dates of the 2014 edition: 4 to 8 June 2014

Bad Fog: Group exhibition curated by Eddie Martinez opens at Martos Gallery

Artist Shepard Fairey to unveil new screen prints at the LA Art Show

New work by Julia Fullerton-Batten and Tim Etchells on view at Jenkins Johnson Gallery

"Sondra Sherman: Found Subjects" exhibition runs at Hunterdon Art Museum

Gabriel Leung's first solo exhibition with Gallery EXIT opens in Hong Kong

Exhibition of new photographs by Los Angeles based artist Miles Coolidge opens at ACME.

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful