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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See Ocula Report Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See 6 Sep 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The fifth edition of Sydney Contemporary will take place once again at Carriageworks between 12 and 15 September 2019, with Spring 1883 bringing together a cohort of 27 galleries from across Australia and the region to inhabit rooms at the Establishment Hotel from 11 to 14 September 2019, uniquely presenting contemporary works propped up on...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Zhang Enli

b. 1965, China

Writings on Zhang Enli’s work often focus on his subtle depictions of humanity and solitude. His early works revolve around the unavoidable transformation of the way of life, disturbance and the suffocating pressure that ensues, often threatening displacement. He sites dislocation as a primary condition of life, using it as a constructive backbone for a narrative praxis. Tales of permanent loss and subsequent retrieval are returned to the social and public realms to be tested for their potential to define contemporary conditions in the metropolis. Zhang Enli creates both a comforting and uncomfortable consciousness of presence. He illuminates the underside of society and his bold and unpretentious brushstrokes often reveal the grotesquerie of contemporary civilization. He portrays details from ordinary objects that are often neglected or downplayed in conventional painting. His brushstrokes come close to traditional Chinese ink painting where every stroke on the canvas articulates parts that are significant to the whole.

Zhang Enli's mode of engagement entails photographically documenting his close environment. He then employs the photographs’ claim on the real to develop his observation of his surroundings, though in a more intuitive and fragmented manner on the canvas. The circuitous route by which Zhang Enli comes to the image is typical of a methodology based on the experience of memory. It is not the repeated image that is central to each painting, but rather the process of reflecting on the events and objects that led him to it. Accordingly, in his paintings of trees, only fragments are revealed to the spectator. As in his other work, these paintings come across as 'un-finished' because they are semi-transparent and leave some of the white canvas exposed. This can be understood as the emergence of reality in the sphere of art, or, perhaps, vice versa.

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Featured Artworks

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448 Boxes by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork
Zhang Enli448 Boxes, 2019 Acrylic on cardboard boxes
608 x 186 x 189 cm
Xavier Hufkens
Hair 4 by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork
Zhang EnliHair 4, 2017 Pencil and oil paint on watercolour paper
79 x 109.5 cm
Xavier Hufkens
Apartment 4 by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork
Zhang EnliApartment 4, 2019 Watercolour on paper
77.8 x 107.9 cm
Xavier Hufkens
Watercolour on the Wall by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork
Zhang EnliWatercolour on the Wall, 2019 Gouache mural
Xavier Hufkens
A Portrait of a Physician by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork
Zhang EnliA Portrait of a Physician, 2019 Oil on canvas
200 x 180.3 x 5.2 cm
Xavier Hufkens
A Politician by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork
Zhang EnliA Politician, 2019 Oil on canvas
220.3 x 180.3 x 5.2 cm
Xavier Hufkens
A Young Painter by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork
Zhang EnliA Young Painter, 2018 Oil on canvas
170.3 x 150.5 x 4.7 cm
Xavier Hufkens
Embroidery 2 by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork
Zhang EnliEmbroidery 2, 2009 Oil on canvas
120 x 160 x 4 cm
Hauser & Wirth

Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Zhang Enli, Zhang Enli at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
Open Now
6 September–19 October 2019 Zhang Enli Zhang Enli Xavier Hufkens, 6 rue St-Georges, Brussels
Contemporary art exhibition, Zhang Enli, Zhang Enli at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
Open Now
6 September–19 October 2019 Zhang Enli Zhang Enli Xavier Hufkens, 107 rue St-Georges, Brussels
Contemporary art exhibition, Group exhibition, The Avant-Garde is Not Afraid of a Long March 前卫不怕远征难 at ShanghART, Singapore
Closed
16 February–28 April 2019 Group exhibition The Avant-Garde is Not Afraid of a Long March 前卫不怕远征难 ShanghART, Singapore

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

The Lowdown: shows to see during Armory Week Ocula Report The Lowdown: shows to see during Armory Week 1 Mar 2018 : Robert Ayers for Ocula

Seasoned visitors to New York City's Armory Show (8–11 March 2018) know that the fair is really just the weekend-long cherry on top of the splendid sundae that is the New York art scene and all it has to offer. With so much else to see, here's the lowdown on some of the city's current standout shows.Songs for SabotageNew Museum 13 February–27...

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Gregor Muir, Princess Alia Al-Senussi and Abdullah AlTurki Ocula Conversation Gregor Muir, Princess Alia Al-Senussi and Abdullah AlTurki Co-curators, 'Duddell's presents: ICA Off-Site: Hong Kongese

Duddell’s, the restaurant and bar which has also become one of Hong Kong’s most important art spaces, recently collaborated with London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) to present the exhibition, Duddell’s Presents: ICA Off-Site: Hong Kongese. The exhibition, which opened earlier this year to coincide with Art Basel...

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Art Basel Week Ocula Report Art Basel Week 13 May 2014 : Robin Peckham for Ocula

It is a funny thing to return as a visitor to a city one once called home: not so long ago I was a de facto host for the descending hordes during ArtHK and later Art Basel Hong Kong, but this year, for the first time, I am seeing it all through the eyes of an art tourist. As a city and as an art event, Hong Kong has always been a tightly wound...

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Zhang Enli Ocula Conversation Zhang Enli Artist, China

On the occasion of Zhang Enli’s current project at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London (showing to 22 December 2013), in which the artist produced a space painting within the ICA Theatre, Ocula correspondent Stephanie Bailey caught up with Zhang Enli to ask a few questions about his practice as an artist using the ICA project as a...

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In Related Press

Decking the halls: Asian gallery highlights at ABHK 16 Related Press Decking the halls: Asian gallery highlights at ABHK 16 Randian : 23 March 2016

For those not always in their midst in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore or elsewhere in Asia, Art Basel Hong Kong is an annual chance to visit galleries whose programs don’t always reach beyond the region.Magician Space (booth 1C27), whose Beijing location has just doubled in size, will show nine artists with a slant towards...

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The Idea Of 'Home' Explored At Ucca, Beijing Related Press The Idea Of 'Home' Explored At Ucca, Beijing Darryl Jingwen Wee fro Blouin ArtInfo / 2 December 2014 : 9 December 2014

In the last exhibition to occupy the Great Hall in 2014, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) collaborates with esteemed furniture-retailer RedStar Macalline to present groundbreaking work from twelve international artists that redefine the notion of “home” while exploring themes of dwelling and existence.The participating...

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Interview: Adrian Cheng On Zhang Enli Related Press Interview: Adrian Cheng On Zhang Enli Darryl Wee for Artinfo / 19 May 2014 : 26 May 2014

Confident, charming and dapper in a salmon pink blazer and chinos, Adrian Cheng weaves dexterously through the milling crowd in the VIP lounge at Art Basel Hong Kong to greet me before sitting down to explain the genesis of his latest curated art project — Chinese painter Zhang Enli’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong,“Space...

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In Video & Audio

Zhang Enli. Colourful Tower, The Bridge 8, Shanghai, 2017 Related Video & Audio Zhang Enli. Colourful Tower, The Bridge 8, Shanghai, 2017 Hauser & Wirth : 15 January 2018

Zhang Enli talks about his three-dimensional painting Colourful Tower, at Bridge 8, Shanghai, in November 2017. Influenced traditional Chinese brush painting, Zhang’s unique approach to abstraction explores the deceptively poetic aspects of everyday contemporary life.

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