Drawing On The Mind
Curated by Zhang Enli

23 Sep – 27 Nov 2021 Hong Kong
‘When an artist takes a pen and makes a few strokes at random, or uses some scraps of wood to stain some color, we call them sketches. Some works are indeed painted by the artist casually, but this kind of carelessness reveals their subconscious, allowing them to overflow the boundaries of their thinking. From some early drawings, we can often find clues about the development of the artist’s later work. These occurrences are the reasons why artists cherish such works on paper and sculptures, as shown in this exhibition.’— Zhang Enli, 2021


Beginning 23 September, Hauser & Wirth presents ‘Drawing On The Mind’, a group exhibition curated by Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Enli. On view through 27 November, the exhibition includes selected works by Modern and Contemporary masters, including Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Alexander Calder, Arshile Gorky, Piero Manzoni, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, David Smith, Zeng Fanzhi, and Zhang Enli himself, revealing the thinking processes of the artists, and offering a glimpse into the subconscious of their minds.

Echoing the coinciding Henry Moore solo exhibition, Enli added, ‘Compared to his most known sculptures, works in this presentation are more abstract and freehand style, they awaken our curiosity and provide us a new perspective to understanding the artist.’

Quotes from Exhibiting Artists on the Creative Process

Phyllida Barlow (b. 1944, United Kingdom)
‘…I think there’s a lot [about the art world] that’s not entirely spoken about or recognized, which is the unseen and the unknown and the creative act as a deeply private experience. There is this great, powerful desire to just create something.’ (2021)

Fausto Melotti (1901-1986, Italy)
‘An artist’s work – poetry, painting, music – always has a ‘chance’ beginning. Then development makes a suggestion, and paves the way towards a law within which it rests and is fully defined.’ (1971)

Bharti Kher (b. 1969, United Kingdom)
‘You don’t realise that pages can mark you. It’s not just you that marks paper with line, touch, stroke, or scratch. Drawing can be self-conscious—except when you don’t fear the page. You don’t want the paper to lie, or to misconstrue you. If you appear at the time to be hesitant, then the paper knows and the better option is to free that page and erase the moment of the memory by re-marking it. Somehow, this knowing also stains the hand, and that marks a space too between a good drawing and a bad one. It’s like the pencil has been told what to do; the hand knows and the paper listens.’ (2013)

Paul McCarthy (b. 1945, United States)
‘If I draw in character, I will make different decisions than I would as Paul. And doing drawings with someone else completely alters the situation and the result. The other character is free to disrupt it, to talk, or whatever. They are also in character. (…) I am not interested in realism in relationship to the characters. They were hybrid hyper-realities.’ (2020)

Exhibiting Artist List
Phyllida Barlow
Louise Bourgeois
Alexander Calder
John Chamberlain
Arshile Gorky
Jenny Holzer
Bharti Kher
Lee Lozano
Anna Maria Maiolino
Piero Manzoni
Takesada Matsutani
Fabio Mauri
Paul McCarthy
Fausto Melotti
Henry Moore
Pablo Picasso
David Smith
Zeng Fanzhi
Zhang Enli

Explore in 360°


Thu 18 Nov 2021, 6:30
In Conversation: Revealing the Creative Process
On Zoom from Hong Kong and Shanghai

Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Enli, curator of the exhibition ‘Drawing on the Mind’, in conversation with Ying Kwok, Senior Curator for Digital and Heritage at Tai Kwun – Centre for Heritage and Arts, discuss and share the preparatory works that reveal the artists’ creative process and…
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