Literature, European Art House Cinema and Western Pop Culture are Cheng Ran’s (b. 1981 Inner Mongolia, China) main sources of inspiration. These influences refer to the many bootlegs and illegal versions of films, books and other manifestations of western pop culture in China, where they are often ‘enriched’ with new covers, added text and sometimes even entire chapters. This post-modern way of dealing with meaning, copyright and authenticity is the starting point for Cheng Ran’s practice, which consists mainly of video and film, as well as photography and installation. He dives into the gaps within existing plots, adding speculative stories, connections and perspectives to soundtracks of classical music. Combined they present a new narrative to the viewer.
Cheng’s work surpasses solely pointing out the exuberance and radical social change in contemporary China. He combines cinema, theatre and poetry in a loose but significant manner, bringing together free association, fragmentation of meaning and the appropriation of stories. Various cultures, social positions and existential questions coexist in a highly stylized scenography.
Cheng Ran has exhibited at numerous museums and biennales, including “SALTWATER: a Theory of Thought Forms”, the 14th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, 2015; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2015; “Inside China”, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, 2014; “Decorum-Carpets & Tapestries by Artists”, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China, 2014; “We Have Never Participated”, the 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, Shenzhen (2014); Whitebox Art Center, New York, USA, 2014; “ON|OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice”, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 201; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston & Asia Society Texas Center, Texas, USA, 2013; Kino der Kunst, Munich, Germany, 2013; 26th European Media Art Festival, Osnabrueck, 2013; “Video Art in China –MADATAC”, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain, 2011; “Moving Image In China:1988-2011”, and Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China, 2011.
Recent solo exhibitions include: “Diary of a Madman”, New Museum, New York, USA, “In Course of the Miraculous”, K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong, China, and “Orange Blue”, Qiao Space, Shanghai, China, all in 2016; “A Film in Progress”, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland; “In Course of the Miraculous”, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing, China; “The Music is On, The Band is Gone”, chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, China, in 2015; “Cheng Ran: A Telephone Booth Romance”, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China, 2014; “Immersion and Distance”, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 2009, among others.
Cheng was nominated for the “Absolut Art Award” in 2013 and the first edition of OCAT – Pierre Huber Art Prize, and won the “Best Video Artist 2011” award from art magazine Randian.
For more works and projects by the artist, download the portfolio in pdf.
“Diary of a Madman” (solo), New Museum, New York, USA, 2016
“The Image Expression In The Art Practice Of New Generation”, Gallery 4 of Xi’an Art Museum, Xi An, China, 2016
“Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions”, Yebisu Garden Place, Tokyo, Japan, 2016
“A Beautiful Disorder”, The Cass Sculpture Foundation, Chichester, UK, 2016
“Residency and Solo Exhibition”, established by New Museum & K11 Art Foundation, New Museum, New York, USA, 2016
“In Course of the Miraculous” (solo), K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong, China, 2016
“Orange Blue” (solo), Qiao Space, Shanghai, China, 2016
“Time Test: International Video Art Research Exhibition”, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2016
“Unlimited”, Art Basel, Messe Basel, Messeplatz, Basel, Switzerland, 2016
“Utopia and Beyond”, Castello di Rivara – Centro d’arte contemporane, Turin, Italy, 2016
“A Film in Progress” (solo), Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland, 2015
“In Course of the Miraculous” (solo), Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing, China, 2015
“The Music is On, The Band is Gone” (solo), chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015
“SALTWATER: a Theory of Thought Forms”, 14th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey, 2015
“Essential Matters – Moving Images from China”, Borusan Contemporary Perili Kosk, Istanbul, Turkey, 2015
“When I Give, I Give Myself”, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2015
“Utopian Days – Fairy Tales”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan, 2015
“Fairy Tales”, Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan, 2015
Artsy, “The Top Emerging Artists of 2016″, December, 2016 [download pdf]
Artforum China, “Critics Picks – Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman”, by Jiang Meng, November, 2016. [download pdf]
Artsy, “20 Chinese Emerging Artists You Should Know”, by Frances Arnold, July, 2016 [download pdf]
Flash Art, “__A__Hexagon”, by Cheng Ran, Issue 49, 2016 [download pdf]
Frieze, “Light Source” (cover story), by En Liang Khong, Issue 177, March, 2016 [download pdf]
The Bund, “Mild Art Belonged To Petty Bourgeoisie And Middle Class”, by Han Jian, Issue 638, April, 2015 [download pdf]
Kaleidoscope, “Exploring The Endless Possibilities of Narrative, Language and Story – Telling”, by Mariagrazia Costantino, January, 2015 [download pdf]
Art China, “Cheng Ran At Leo Xu Projects”, by Yu Kai Maya, Issue 109, December, 2014 [download pdf]
The Bund, “Cheng Ran New Born At Thirties”, by Shen Yin, Issue 618, September, 2014 [download pdf]
Art Review Asia, “8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale We Have Never Participated”, by Yung Ma, Autumn & Winter, 2014 [download pdf]
Hangzhou Magazine, “Anoymous Mail: He impressed Carina Lau with a deconstructed English spam”, by Wu Yiyun, August, 2014 [download pdf]
Peerage, “The Art of Possibilities”, edited by Ayaka, Issue 303, September, 2014 [download pdf]
Rijksakademie inside out, “Meeting Cheng Ran in his studio”, by Frederieke Beunk, March, 2014 [download pdf]
Leap, “Cheng Ran: The Last Generation”, by Yang Di, August, 2013 [download pdf]
Art World, “Cheng Ran”, by Lin Jia, September, 2012 [download pdf]
Leap, “What Why How”, by Tang Lingjie, June, 2012 [download pdf]
THE WEEK, “Cheng Ran: Another Possibility”, by Amos, June, 2012 [download pdf]
Men’s Uno, “Cheng Ran (Artist Feature) “, by Mu, May, 2012 [download pdf]
Leap, “Cheng Ran: Circadian Rhythm – Videos You Didn’t Finish Watching”, by Cheng Ran, June, 2011 [download pdf]
Interviewed by LeCODE Project。lecode.co, September 2013.