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Zhang Enli

Author: Puhong 2015

Our idea of painting conventionally falls within the limitations of framework of knowledge. For instance, the emotions conveyed through dramatic, theatrical stories versus the rigorous self-defined aesthetic systems of lines, colour, texture and brushmarks that occurred through the period of Modernism. The core of Zhang En l i ‘s  painting, however, has nothing to do with either of these two familiar approaches. Instead, he draws inspiration from the brilliant Italian mathematician and Renaissance painter, Paolo Uccello, who modelled his subjects with precise perspective, as a means of establishing a means of ordering knowledge of the world. This practice has been gradually established in Zhang Enli's paintings through his exploration of simple objects from daily life. Each object is presented from an unusual angle and using different techniques which results in a new sense of their form and function. Other of his paintings have the appearance of a sketch, with the grid lines used to create them intentionally left visible in the final work to allow the audience to have a sense of his process and to consider the question of finished/unfinished as the goal of a painting.

Zhang Enli aims for direct expression of an “object”,subverting an established hierarchy of objects, where painting, like science, is a means of challenging an accepted order. This type of challenge nourishes the artist, allowing him to play with drawing, perspective, and even to preserve mistakes — formal qualities that have fallen out of vogue in the evolution of conceptual painting under Modernism. In this sense, Zhang Enli's paintings fall outside of recent trends in visual art. His work invokes a core historical tenet of painting, as being a key to unlock the mysteries of the world. Zhang Enli's ambition is, through painting, to establish a new system of objects in the world.

Zhang Enli was bom in Jilin in 1965. He studied at the Department of Industry Design at Wuxi Light Industry School, graduating in 1989. He lives and works in Shanghai.

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