Fortnum & Mason collaborates with Zhang Enli
Two icons collide in the new Fortnum’s x Zhang Enli exhibition. Running until 18 October 2019, this collaboration sees eminent Chinese artist Zhang Enli take over Fortnum’s flagship London store and present a rich body of 22 works, including 19 never-before-seen paintings specially commissioned for Fortnum’s.
Marking an exciting time for the brand, this collaboration sees its annual art project work directly with an artist to support them in the creation of new work for the first time. Regarded as one of the 21st century’s most celebrated artists, Zhang Enli is an impressive choice to start with.
Ewan Venters, Fortnum & Mason CEO, said: “Fortnum’s has always been both a feast for the senses and a place of discovery and our annual art project, which sees us remove our own collection and replace those works with different artists is an annual highlight for us. Changing the nature of the shop, providing a different space for artists and provoking customers to view art in a totally different context is a great joy and makes Fortnum’s that bit more special. It is a privilege to be working with Zhang Enli – one of the world’s greatest Chinese contemporary artists – to stimulate our visitors from around the world, in exciting visual and sensitive ways and comes at an incredibly important time for us as we prepare for our opening this autumn in Hong Kong.”
Having achieved acclaim for his earlier figurative paintings, Zhang Enli has dedicated recent years to developing his own abstract visual language and is known for his captivating paintings that document the more prosaic aspects of contemporary life. In his latest body of work, commissioned specifically by Fortnum’s with the space in mind, Zhang Enli’s uninhibited, intuitive approach to colour and form is exemplified. Inspired by the artist’s increased travel to and across the UK over the past year, these works showcase themes of travel, mapping, immigration and relocation.
Photos by Peter Mallet
Highlights include the artist’s impressions of the Scottish countryside and suburban areas surrounding London, as observed during Zhang Enli’s travel between the two. The topographical watercolour on paper pieces are reinterpretations of the local cultures that the artist encountered on his journeys, and seen here as if from an aerial viewpoint encased in grid-like structures. The works demonstrate Zhang Enli’s mastery of expressive lines and curves, which are influenced by traditional Chinese brush painting.
Photos by Peter Mallet
In addition to this unique month-long exhibition at the famous Piccadilly flagship store, a limited-edition cashmere scarf using a new design created by Zhang will also be available to London shoppers, courtesy of Jane Carr, alongside prints of the new design. The pattern draws on the aesthetic of maps and contours, referencing the terraces of tea plantations in Hunan and the forms of the islands off Hong Kong.