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b. 1965, China

Zhang Enli Biography

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.

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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.

Zhang Enli was born in Jilin province in 1965. He graduated from Wuxi Technical University, Arts and Design Institute in 1989 and is currently living in Shanghai, China. Recent solo exhibitions include: Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Somerset (2015); Hauser & Wirth, London (2014); K11 Art Foundation Pop- Up Space, Hong Kong (2014); Shanghai Night Club, Shanghai (2014); Museo d’Arte contemporanea di Villa Croce, Genova (2013); ICA, London (2013); Hauser & Wirth, Zurich (2012); Shanghai Art Museum (2011); Hauser & Wirth, New York (2011); Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2010); Hauser & Wirth, London (2010); Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2009); Ikon Museum of Art, Birmingham, U.K. (2009); ShanghART H-Space (2008).

Recently group exhibitions include: Comfort, ShanghART Beijing, Beijing (2015); Jing Shen. The Act of Painting in Contemporary China, PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan (2015); My House Is Your House, SPSI Art Museum, Shanghai (2015); Garden Splendors, Jinji Lake Art Museum, Suzhou, China (2015); Paper, ShanghART Singapore, Singapore (2015); The System of Objects, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2015); China 8. Contemporary Art from China at the Rhine and Ruhr, Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany (2015); 28 Chinese, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio TX (2015); Nobody Knows Where, Zhang Enli and Christopher Doyle, Aurora Museum, Shanghai (2015); Don’t Shoot the Painter – UBS Art Collection, Villa Reale’s Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan (2015); Blow-UP—Chinese New Painting at Post Financial Crisis Era, Changjiang Museum of Contemporary Art, Changjiang (2015); Die Beiläufigkeit der Dinge (The Incidental Nature of Things), Overbeck-Gesellschaft, Lübeck, Germany (2015); Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver (2014); Yokohama Triennale 2014, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan (2014); Aura of Poetry, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai (2014); Hans van Dijk: 5000 Names, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art / Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China / Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2014); Myth/History: Yuz Collection of Contemporary Art, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China (2014); Metropolis: Reflections on the Modern City, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham (2013); Kochi-Muziris Biennial, India (2012); On Contemporary Era – The First Chinese Oil Painting Biennial, The National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2012); The Seventh Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial – Accidental Message: Art is Not a System, OCAT Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China (2012); The 6th Curitiba Biennial, Brazil (2011); Gwangju Biennale (2010); The 7th Shanghai Biennale (2008); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007); Infinite Painting, Contemporary Painting and Global Realism, Villa Manin- Centre for Contemporary Art Passariano, Italy (2006).

Zhang Enli Featured Artworks

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The Surgeon by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork painting
Zhang EnliThe Surgeon, 2020Oil on canvas
170 x 150 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire
A Man Who Travels to Space by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork painting
Zhang EnliA Man Who Travels to Space, 2021Oil on canvas
250 x 200 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire
A Delivery Man by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork painting
Zhang EnliA Delivery Man, 2019Oil on canvas
1701 x 1503 x 55 cm
Xavier Hufkens Contact Gallery
A Little Girl by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork painting
Zhang EnliA Little Girl, 2018Oil on canvas
170 x 150 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Dustbin 垃圾箱 by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork painting
Zhang EnliDustbin 垃圾箱, 2006Oil on canvas
146 x 114 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Installation view by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork painting
Zhang EnliInstallation viewOil on canvas

Not for sale
The Broken Plastic Sheets by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork painting
Zhang EnliThe Broken Plastic Sheets, 2015Oil on canvas
180 x 160 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
The Light Bulb (1) by Zhang Enli contemporary artwork installation
Zhang EnliThe Light Bulb (1), 2008Aluminium
26 x 26 x 42 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery

Zhang Enli Recent Exhibitions

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Zhang Enli Represented By

Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Hauser & Wirth Gstaad, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Menorca, Monte Carlo, New York, Somerset, Southampton, St. Moritz, Zurich
ShanghART contemporary art gallery in Singapore ShanghART Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore
Xavier Hufkens contemporary art gallery in St-Georges, Brussels, Belgium Xavier Hufkens Brussels

Zhang Enli In Ocula Magazine

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Zhang Enli In Related Press

Zhang Enli In Video & Audio

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