1116 | ZHANG ENLI Painted in 2013 FIRE


Author: ZHANG ENLI 张恩利

Size: 200×180cm

Signed and dated: Painted in 2013

Estimate: 1,600,000 -2,600,000

Final Price: --

signed in Chinese and dated 2013

2014 5+ ShanghART Gallery, Beijing

A still life is not an actual object. In fact, still life could be seen as the residue of smell left by people. An object is meaningless in itself, then no matter how beautiful this object is, you may feel nothing more than that. The most intriguing point I find out is that, instead of thinking of the object itself, you will more think of the people who were in touch with this object, and that is the crush which really attracts the attention.
—Zhang Enli

Since 2006, Zhang Enli has made a major turn in his style of creation and image exploration. Specifically, his creation has gradually transferred from the early portraits with extensive images, solemn colors and strong expressionism to the more rational and objective‘attachment to people’. These motifs of painting or the constituents of our ordinary life might be something we never pay attention to or even throw away, but to Zhang Enli, by maintaining his intensity of observation, the concentration and the closeness of observation then revealing the internal essence of each object, which are the inspirations of his creation. To himself, each object has its appropriate meaning, and any relevant, personal or symbolic meanings or associations will finally change over time and only remain their own‘humanities’ that persist over time changes.‘I believe that we are all looking for the forgotten elements,’ Zhang said,‘such as digging a treasure hidden in a junkyard.’
During this period, about the language of painting, the most obvious characteristics shown in Zhang Enli’s works are objectivity and restraint. His early works were full of strongly emotional performance and sharp brushworks, while at this period, the structure of his paintings is completely replaced by subtle lines and relaxed sense of performance. Just as what Philippe Pirotte explained for Zhang Enli’s 2015 exhibition titled‘Idle’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei,‘if we read Zhang’s painting in a quite obsessed and paranoid way, we can perceive the alternative meanings of individual symbols as well as the mutual substitution among various interpretations.’
Painted in 2013, the gravity of the image called Fire (Lot 1116) is formed by a pile of disordered firewood, and the rising and relaxing lines outline the shape of the flame which could be thought as either the random growth of lines or the unconscious extension of planes. Influenced by the experience from his childhood in learning traditional Chinese painting, Zhang Enli’s perception of lines represents the feature that starting from partial and tiny point and taking the advantage of the unique expressive characteristics of the line to describe the structural features and the texture properties of the material. The edge of the flame is dissolved by the filmy paint, such as a visional shadow which blends with the background painted in a single color, and not only implying the ethereal material state of the flame, but also exuding a particularly pure and warm temperament. In Zhang’s words,‘a preeminent painting itself has a unique temperament that should not be overemphasized. Actually, this temperament is an inadvertent expression since deliberate pursuit is meaningless.’