May 15th through 18th, 2014
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center
1 Harbour Rd, Hong Kong
Cheng Ran’s solo show Simply Wild at LEO XU PROJECTS’s booth 1D 51 for Art Basel HK 2014, consisting of five works in various media—video, mixed media installation and photograph, etc., revolves around a spam e-mail he received from an anonymous woman. Recently made during his artist residency at Rijksakademie, Netherlands, this show reflects a refreshing artistic practice and insight in his ovoure.
Born in the Wild uses a piano as material for the installation. The idea was inspired by a CD of an Emil Gilels’ performance in 1972 of a Beethoven sonata, with a cover image of a painting by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), The Sea of Ice. From this, Cheng Ran directly transformed the cover and contents of the music cd, its exterior and its core. Throughout, he kept Mikhail Bakunin’s famous quote firmly in mind: “The passion for destruction is also a creative passion.”
Simply Wild is developed from a spam e-mail Cheng Ran received last September from an unknown woman, originally shot in Super 8 film in Netherlands and transferred to digital video. Amazed by the evocative writing of pseudo-love letter, Cheng Ran enriches the text part with sensational manipulation of video shots
The Third-Class Letter is a photograph work transformed from a hand-written letter on film by the artist, who is inspired by the daily spam mails he receives. It emphasizes the ignorance people treat spam mails with. They are not usually opened or read. But this type of writing extensively exits in our time. The title borrows from the famous sci-fi movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Temporary (Taxi) Day (Driver) includes a theatre script based on Martin Scorsese’s Movie “The Taxi Driver” by Cheng Ran, previously published at ArtReview Asia and various found objects collected in Europe, connecting the cut-out text part organically as a storyboard.
One Second #1 is the one-second long film still from the super 8 film Simply Wild. The composition borrows from American realist painter Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting Christina’s world in 1948.
Cheng Ran (b. 1981, in Inner Mongolia) graduated from China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Cheng’s videos project the innermost of young Chinese and capture the living experience greatly impacted by the globalized cultures and cultural policies. They integrate elements of the performative, the visual from electronica and rock’n’roll music, and in a few cases, the aesthetics of Chinese ink painting into his cinematic language that is informed by the late 20th century art house cinema.
Cheng has exhibited at many galleries and institutions in China and abroad, such as Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; CAFA Art Museum, Beijing; Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai; James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai and New York and Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai etc.. He has also participated in many art and film festivals including the 8th Shenzhen Sculpture biennale, West Bund 2013 A Biennial of architecture and Contemporary Art, The Third Guangzhou Triennial, The 26th European Media Art Festival, The 5th Auckland Triennial, KINO DER KUNST: Current Films from Asia in 2013 and Seoul International Experimental Film Festival, etc.
Cheng was shortlisted for “Absolut Art Award” in 2013, and won the “Best Video Artist” of 2011 by the online Art Magazine Radian
Cheng lives and works between Hangzhou and Amsterdam currently held a residency at the Rijksakademie / De Ateliers.
To learn more about Art Basel Hong Kong, please visit: www.artbasel.com/en/Hong-Kong