Bern, Switzerland

Zhang Enli

Kunsthalle Bern

Zhang Enli is dissatisfied with the image of contemporary Chinese art as defined by pop and politics. For him, the most commonplace objects are what connects China to the rest of the world: tables, chairs, benches, pots, boxes. The artist has moved away from his former, wildly gestural and figurative pictures to arrive at a sober style of painting featuring a smaller range of hues distributed over fewer fields and depicting everyday things. As peaceful and intimate as these recent paintings—in an exhibition previously seen at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK—first appear, they offer a drastically unsettling vision of the world. In Apartment 2 and 3, both 2008, a building facade is rotated from a frontal perspective into a distended, slanting plane that seems to produce a strange movement even in the space in front of the picture. Paradoxically, we gaze down at the facade as if from above.

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