‘There’s still a long road ahead’: artist Zhang Enli on his journey

Zhang Enli is a Chinese artist whose 30-year career has often defied mainstream trends. When peers such as Zeng Fanzhi traded dark, expressionistic paintings of the gritty urban underbelly for a brand of gaudy cynicism, Zhang stuck with his dark-hued portraits of the butchers he saw in his neighbourhood wet market.Grim-faced and blood-splattered, they are given pink, sinewy arms that look rather like the raw meat lying on top of their chopping boards.Works such as the “Butcher” series were not…