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Inside the Art Studio of Zhang Enli

Zhang Enli observing a large painting in his studio space


Our studio Sunday artist this week is Zhang Enli. Based in Shanghai, Enli is known for gestural paintings in oil and watercolour, often depicting overlooked elements of cities and civilizations -- maps, cast-off detritus, and other seemingly mundane details of urban life. 


I really like the look of Enli’s studio here. It’s bright, spacious, and airy, and though it contains a number of artworks, none seem to be competing with any others. Enli is alone in the space and yet the large sculptural object across from him seems almost to be an entity in its own right, participating with enli in the review of the paintings spread out across the floor. 


The way that Enli has these paintings spread out reminds me of photos inside the studio of Misaki Kawai or even Chris Ofilli, though the latter example was a special occasion and an extremely large work. There are lots of canvas stretchers packed onto the side wall of the studio space behind Enli -- I wonder if some of these paintings on the floor are destined to be affixed to these stretchers. 


The studio space seems large, and Enli authoritative in his presence -- I wonder if the artist employs studio assistants to help him produce his work. 


Enli debuted a series of paintings of London, England in 2019 at London’s Fortnum and Mason gallery. The artist’s paintings of the city are often positioned as aerial views, or abstracted completely, serving more as brief impressions of an atmosphere than as documentary records of a space.

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About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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