Erno Enkenberg is known for paintings that are precise, but their realism is not a direct portrayal of reality, but rather the building and representation of reality. Many of Enkenberg’s series are based on scale models that have in fact existed, built by the artist himself. In recent years, Enkenberg has traded physical scale models for modeling software capable of creating an artificial illusion of 3D space or objects and building various prototypes of humans.
While the themes of his artworks have varied from natural sciences to friendships, his idiom has remained recognizable. Regardless of the theme, one important level in the artworks has been this creation of an artificial reality with its reduced aesthetics and the little clumsiness still discernible in virtual reality.
Enkenberg’s most recent exhibition is titled Good Life. This is his first exhibition at Gallery Halmetoja. Good Life is about making things and the drive to make them. Everyone of us would like to write a novel or to be a carpenter. We want to create beautiful and meaningful things by hand, because the rest of our lives are so abstract and immaterial.
In several of the new paintings, hands take the lead role. Hands are used to paint, to conserve, to portray and to fell a tree.
On the other hand, Good Life also depicts the reception of art. When you are viewing a painting, listening to music or reading a book, you are simultaneously an active participant and a passive recipient. This contradiction manifests as finely tuned humour in Enkenberg’s paintings, where you can always find at least three levels of making art. The artworks have been painted by hand, they portray either making or experiencing art or, in fact, they portray the virtual depiction of making or experiencing art.
Fortunately, paintings ultimately are paintings, and the meta levels stemming from their creation process can also be ignored. A painting where people are painting a fresco and playing the recorder is a painting about making and experiencing art and the chemistry between two people, without the need to conceptualize any it further. Instead, you can pay attention to the beautifully depicted light, graceful composition and the colours that resonate exquisitely on the smooth surface.