Opening 24 January, Hauser & Wirth’s new street-level gallery in Hong Kong launches with an inaugural exhibition by Zhang Enli

Hauser& Wirth Hong Kong exterior G/F, 8 Queen’s Road Central
Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Photo: JJYPHOTO
Lisbeth Thalberg

Hauser & Wirth’s new street-level gallery in Hong Kong opens on 24 January 2024 with an inaugural exhibition by Chinese artist Zhang Enli entitled ‘Faces’. The relocation sees the gallery move to a space created by Selldorf Architects on 8 Queen’s Road Central in Hong Kong, at the junction of historic Ice House Street, Duddell Street and Queen’s Road.

Zhang Enli
Zhang Enli
A Guest from Afar 2023
Oil on canvas 200 x 400 cm / 78 3/4 x 157 1/2 in
©️ Zhang Enli
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: JJYPHOTO

Zhang Enli was the first Asian artist to join Hauser & Wirth in 2006 and he has exhibited widely, both regionally and internationally, including at the gallery’s spaces in New York, London, Somerset and Zurich. ‘Faces’ is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery in Asia.

‘With this beautiful new gallery space in Hong Kong we’re taking a ground-up approach. The space by Selldorf Architects is perfectly located to create exciting opportunities for our artists to present their exhibitions and to welcome the city’s informed and engaged communities, those from wider Asia and beyond.’

Iwan Wirth, President

‘We are looking forward to opening the doors to our exhibition by Zhang Enli in this stunning street-level gallery in the heart of Hong Kong. The passion for art and collecting continues to thrive in this city and we believe our newly located ground-floor space will enhance the experience of exhibiting, viewing and learning, allowing our artists’ work to reach an even wider audience.’

Elaine Kwok, Managing Partner Asia
Zhang Enli
Zhang Enli
Art Museum Director 2022
Oil on canvas 250 x 200 cm / 98 3/8 x 78 3/4 in
©️ Zhang Enli
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: JJYPHOTO

Zhang Enli. Faces

24 January – 9 March 2024

‘Sometimes, the obscured object also creates a trace with the passing of time. This is the origin of my recent abstract paintings. When I look at a wall, or sky, it is full of traces, and then I name these traces after someone; it becomes very interesting, it is visible yet invisible.’

Zhang Enli

Using the outside world as a mirror, Zhang Enli often documents the more prosaic aspects of contemporary life. Titled ‘Faces’, the inaugural exhibition at Hauser & Wirth’s new location in Hong Kong features new paintings. These gestural canvases reflect Zhang Enli’s progression to looser, freer brushwork that has become prominent in his style in recent years and reveal the artist’s compelling and continued exploration into abstract form.

The exhibition in Hong Kong focuses on Zhang Enli’s expressive new possibilities. While anchored in figuration with descriptive titles, Zhang Enli seeks to capture the ‘essence’ of his subjects rather than their physical representation through these works. New paintings for the exhibition such as ‘A Guest from Afar’ (2023), ‘Melon Farmers’ (2023) and ‘Art Museum Director’ (2022) are made with a diverse palette and application – dynamic brushstrokes are overlaid with colourful spheres, indicating a unique style in the artist’s painterly aesthetic. In these works, Zhang Enli projects his own concerns and recollections onto the canvas, fusing the real and the imagined, in highly personal impressions.

Literature has had a lasting influence on Zhang Enli’s creative practice, in particular ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ by Sherwood Anderson, which he first encountered in college in 1985. Anderson’s depictions of characters, detailed observations and the desire to see beneath the surface of life, has reminded the artist of his own experience and memories with his family, and drawing his attention to the fate of ‘the ordinary people’. The ‘faces’ of the characters are no longer important, they became a symbol, leaving traces of their identity and life stories in the artwork titles. ‘A Man Reading “The Castle”’ (2023) refers to ‘The Castle’, the last novel by Franz Kafka, who died before he finished the book. This sense of mystery and uncertainty within the book, as well as for humanity at large, has remained a constant source of inspiration for the artist, who has revisited the work countless times.

Zhang Enli
Zhang Enli, 2024. Photo: JJYPHOTO

About the Artist

Zhang Enli was born in Jilin province in 1965. He graduated from Wuxi Technical University, Arts and Design Institute in 1989. Zhang currently lives and works in Shanghai. Zhang Enli’s solo exhibition held in numerous important institutions, including Long Museum (West Bund) (2023); He Art Museum, Shunde (2023); Long Museum (Chongqing) (2021); Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2020); Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy (2019); K11 Art Foundation, Shanghai (2019); Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2018); Hauser & Wirth, New York, USA (2018); Firstsite, Colchester, UK (2017); Moca, Taipei (2015); ShanghART, Shanghai (2015); ; K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong (2014); Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy (2013); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (2013); Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai (2011); Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2010); and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2009), a presentation which travelled to Kunsthalle Bern, Berne, Switzerland (2009) etc.

Zhang Enli‘s works are in numerous museum collections, including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy; K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; La Maison LVMH Collection, Paris, France; Long Museum, Shanghai; M+ Collection, Hong Kong; Power Station of Art, Shanghai; Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai; SIFANG Art Museum, Nanjing; Start Museum, Shanghai; TANK SHANGHAI, Shanghai; Tate Modern, London, UK; The UBS Art Collection, Zürich, Switzerland; and Yuz Foundation, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Zhang Enli
Installation View,‘ Zhang Enli. Faces ’, Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong, 24 January – 9 March 2024. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: JJYPHOTO
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Journalist and artist (photographer). Editor of the art section at MCM. Contact: art (@) martincid (.) com
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