CHEN WEI, "Ping Pong", 2011, archival inkjet print, 150 x 200 cm, edition of 6

June 3rd through to August 5th, 2012
VIP Reception June 3rd, 2012, 4-6pm

LEO XU PROJECTS is pleased to present “More” for the first solo presentation of Beijing-based photographer Chen Wei since 2009. Set across the gallery’s three floor, this exhibition features an extensive body of Chen Wei’s work from the recent few years. Exploring the development of his photographic practices, the show follows his previously complex cinematic and narrative pieces, to his present larger focus on the artist’s handcrafted quotidian objects within a more simplistic works evocative of theatrical sets and still life painting. Furthermore, this exhibition also provides a rare performative insight into Chen Wei’s experimental processes of artistic production.

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CHENG RAN, "1971 - 2000", 2012, Single channel video with sound, 7 min 47 sec, Edition of 6

April 22nd through May 27th, 2012

“Cheng Ran: What Why How” is the first solo exhibition in Shanghai of Hangzhou-based Cheng Ran, a young artist critically acclaimed for his distinctive visual language and style that connects the cinema with relevant cultures of the time. The show runs from April 22nd through May 27th 2012, and will be accompanied by a catalogue and off-site projects initiated and produced by the artist.

Titled after a video Cheng Ran made in 2010, the exhibition “What Why How” premieres four latest videos produced over the past year. “What Why How”, as the artist observes, refers to both a pattern for study and the analytical thinking adopted in the stock market. Parodying the way Western films’ titles are translated into Chinese in Hong Kong, Cheng Ran transliterated this three-word term and lends it identity of a fictional male character. As the video “What Why How” examines the significance of life and belief through the protagonist repeatedly questioning and conversing with himself, the show—with a deliberate absence of this eponymous video—continues the artist’s recent probe and narrows the focus onto his philosophy of motion pictures.

For this exhibition, the ground floor gallery is transformed into a cinema with presentation of two single-channel videos that mark the centerpieces of the show. “1971-2000” (2012) opens up a box of memories of the cinematic classics that have left enormous impact on Cheng and his peers who would access contemporary cinema through second-hand resources, bootleg products and much recently the internet. Appropriating iconic elements from “A Clockwork Orange” (Stanely Kubrick, 1971) and “The Million Dollar Hotel” (Wim Wenders, 2000), the artist created a new film of a young man throwing himself off the rooftop, which however reconciles the contradicting beliefs and viewpoints in these two classics.

The other video “Angels for the Millennium (#6)” (2012) filmed an unlikely rescue in deep water. When projected upside down, the whole process—the drowning man ascends peacefully and slowly, later attended by lifeguards—only makes for a tranquil and sacred rite. Mimicking Bill Viola’s historic video installation “Five Angels for the Millennium” (2001), the work voices the response of Cheng Ran as a young Chinese artist to the parameter of video art set by Western pioneers, whose works are more read and heard about among the Chinese. The video also references the British thriller “The Prisoner” (Patrick McGoohan, 1967), in which the protagonist a secret agent named “Number Six” makes every effort of escaping the mysteriously isolated dystopian “village” he is held captive in. Confessional and redemptive, Cheng’s Angel Number Six marks the line between belief and indoctrination.

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JÉRÔME BEL, "Cédric Andrieux", 2009, Video, 87 min 49 sec

February 19th through April 8th, 2012

Artists: Jérôme Bel, Cheng Ran, Guo Hongwei, Hu Xiangqian, Li Qing, Liu Chuang, Mei Yuangui, Wolfgang Tillmans, Fred Tomaselli, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Danh Vo, Yang Fudong, Zhou Haiying.

“Boy: A Contemporary Portrait” juxtaposes recent and commissioned new works by contemporary visual artists with a selection of works of contemporary dance, fashion photography and mid-20th century’s documentary photography, etc.

Boy, as Oxford Dictionary suggests, also refers to “a man, especially a young or relatively young one”. The first decade of the 21st century sees a transforming representation of men in different cultures, media and regions. This exhibition attempts to portray young men of the time and to redefine the manhood within a global context.

Since the early 1990s, celebrated German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has been exploring—through his photographs and his involvement in publication—the range of gestures and physicality that have become the distinguishing characteristics of young men in visual culture. His wall installation on view comprises of eight representative photographs he made between 2000 and 2010. Through his signature way of display, the set of photographs constitutes a visual fiction in a first-person narrative that reveals the emotional, sensual and intellectual aspects of young men’s life. Intimate and earnest, French choreographer Jérôme Bel’s critically acclaimed “Cédric Andrieux” (2009) provides a choreographed account that portrays a contemporary dancer’s life and career and outlines the relationship between the performer and the dance as a medium.

The exhibition includes a series of male portraits that are multifaceted and conceptual. Beijing-based Liu Chuang’s “Buying Everything On You” (2007) assembles all the possessions he acquired from a passer-by, which are laid out on a plinth in a way reminiscent of taxonomical or criminal research. Danh Vo, a Vietnamese-born conceptual artist produced specifically for the show a gilded Bud Light beer packaging (“Bud Lite”, 2012) and makes it a metaphor for the experience of being a young man in the consumer culture. “Faith” (2006) a double-channel video installation commissioned for Liverpool Biennale 2006, continues the award-winning Thai filmmaker and video artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s experiment in visualizing a man’s innermost world. “Faith is a tender portrait of lost love and transformation. Surrounded by perpetual change and the fear of new memories replacing old, a man dreams for an eternal place, where the image of his loved ones can live on,” the artist comments. In his commissioned new work, Hangzhou-based video artist Cheng Ran filmed a lone man driving a car donned in flowers on a night journey. The piece references Derek Jarman’s film “Blue” and his diary “Modern Nature”, and pays homage to the late British filmmaker.

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GABRIEL LESTER, How To Act, 2011, installation view at Booijmans Museum, Rotterdam

March 16th, 2012, 7pm
Rockbund Art Museum Shanghai
Bldg/F, 570 West Huaihai Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai

As part of the exhibition “Model Home: A Proposition By Michael Lin” program, Gabriel Lester will be giving a talk on the time and space relationship.

Titled “TimeSpace”, a term indicating the three-dimensions of space supplemented with the fourth dimension of time, the talk will focus on Gabriel Lester’s spatial installations. These artworks, resembling cinematic stage sets, architectural design and interior settings, strongly suggest movement and dramatic evolution. Recognizing life asprogressions through time and space, the lecture will also address narrative structures, the constitution of memory and a psychology of space.



CHENG RAN, Dark Red (The Deepest Red), 2012, Ten-channel video installation, dimension variable

LEO XU PROJECTS is pleased to announce its curatorial collaboration and off-site projects within Michael Lin’s solo exhibition “Model Home” at Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai. Gallery artist Cheng Ran is commissioned to produce a body of videos for the show and a sound project is curated by Leo Xu to extend the exhibition into a subtle soundscape.

Titled “Dark Red (The Deepest Red)”, Cheng Ran’s ambitious ten-channel video installation brings together video documentation of the production of Michael Lin’s “Model Home” and footages on the architectural environment and people involved. The ten videos are scattered within six floors of the entire museum space and presented in various forms.

The sound project includes a sound-and-music album and a commissioned new ambient sound installation by Shanghai-based artist Lou Nanli that takes up each gallery space. The album contains a multimedia application—a collaboration between Shanghai-based media artist Xu Wenkai (aka. aaajiao) and Lou Nanli—and a compilation of music and songs by musicians and artists reflecting on living experience in Shanghai.

As part of the exhibition’s program, Shanghai-based Dutch artist Gabriel Lester will be giving a talk on the time and space relationship. The talk takes place on March 16, 7pm at the Rockbund Art Museum. The talk will be delivered in English with a Chinese translation.

LOU NANLI & aaajiao, A Room in Stripes, 2012, Multimedia computer application

March 10th through June 3rd, 2012
Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai
20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai

For further information, please contact the gallery and phone: +86-21-3461 1245.



CHENG RAN, Anonymity, or Imitation and Imagining of Man Ray’s Tears, 2010, Single channel video with sound, 11 min 33 sec

Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
March 3rd through April 3rd, 2012

Cheng Ran is featured in a group exhibition at Iberia Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Entitled “Becoming Peninsula I: Symptoms”, the exhibition surveys the artistic practices of young Chinese artists born around the early 1980s.

“Anonymity, or Imitation and Imagining of Man Ray’s ‘Tears’ (1930-1932)” the work on view is a video Cheng Ran produced in memory of the late British designer Alexander McQueen. Through alternating Vivaldi music and the repetitive sound of gentle waves lapping the shore, the video starts with a long shot observing—in a fashion reminiscent of Luchino Visconti’s “Death in Venice”—a scantily clad boy standing statue-like on a rock and winds up with a close-up of the boy’s face dotted with fake pearls appropriated from the teardrops in Man Ray’s photograph “Tears”.

The video was commissioned for “Alex: A Tribute to Alexander McQueen”, a group exhibition curated by Leo Xu (James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai, 2010), and later exhibited in the show “In A Perfect World…” curated by James Elaine (Meulensteen, New York, 2011).

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Cui Jie, Bar, 2011, Oil on canvas, 100 x 130 cm

December 3rd 2011 through February 5th 2012

Artists: Cui Jie, Li Shurui, Zhang Jungang & Li Jie

“Cui Jie, Li Shurui, Zhang Jungang & Li Jie” features recent works by Beijing-based Cui Jie and Li Shurui and Harbin-based duo Zhang Jungang & Lijie, and gives a perceptive account of the relationship between their life and contemporary landscape.

Known for her early works that question the truth in reality through unlikely marriage of images on canvas (for instance, an astronaut walking in Forbidden City, or a group of beauty queens posing for photo shoot in the Moon), Cui Jie has steered her focus to the study of forms and figure-ground relationship by a body of new paintings that magnify architectural details. Inspired by the multiple exposures in Orson Welles’ films, Cui painted a world composed of fragments from urban landscape and, in a few cases, layers of grids, lines and other graphic patterns. Though set in Beijing, subjects in her landscape paintings look like elsewhere in any possible contemporary cities, representing a sense of déjà vu and alienation.

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Cui Jie is recently selected as one of the five promising Chinese contemporary artists by Wall Street Journal. Cui Jie’s recent work, described as “dystopian scene” by WSJ, “evokes the painterly eeriness of German artists Gerhard Richter and Neo Rauch.” [read on]

In Bundpic’s recent issue (# 472), Cui Jie speaks about her career and life in Beijing. The two-page interview reveals the change of style and subjects in Cui’s painting and the artist’s current interest in urbanism. [full text in Chinese]




Amsterdam and Shanghai-based artist Gabriel Lester , as a member of the interdisciplinary team of Irma Boom (graphic designer), Hella Jongerius (designer), Rem Koolhaas/OMA (architect) and Louise Schouwenberg (theoretician), has won the competition for the re-design of the UN’s North Delegates Lounge, one of the most prestigious and crucial spaces in the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Located near the General Assembly’s main plenary hall and enjoying a view of the East River, the space serves as a meeting place for thousands of policymakers and diplomats from the 192 UN’s member states. Four teams were asked to submit designs. To continue the tradition of the UN buildings originally designed by a team of well-known architects, including Wallace K. Harrison, Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, the winning team takes an interdisciplinary approach that centers on the original 1950s design and “combines a thorough architectural overhaul with a subtle use of materials and furnishings”. The renovation will be completed by the end of 2012.

Gabriel Lester (b.1972 in Amsterdam) works across various disciplines including cinema, music, performance, installation, sculpture and architecture. Atmospheric and perceptual, many of Lester’s works evolve around the very nature of the media of our time, and transform the space and time through meticulously altering the media and forms. “All Right” (2011), a re-production of his contribution to Busan Biennale 2006, is a short film solely composed of images and video clips found online. It was produced for the gallery’s inaugural exhibition “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. His work is currently on view in the group show “TV Commune” (through January 24, 2012) at Nam June Paik Art Center, Korea.




image courtesy of Kick the Machine Films.

November 19th, 2011, 1 pm

Venue: Rockbund Art Museum, Auditorium
Associate Mission Building, 1F, No 169 Yuan Ming Yuan Road

Free of admission

Through a multimedia presentation, the talk explores the career of award-winning filmmaker and artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his works that cross over various disciplines including cinema, video, photography, installation, etc,

Born in 1970 in Bangkok, Apichatpong Weerasethakul was trained in architecture and went on to study filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He started making films and videos in 1994, and has since produced seven features, namely, “Mysterious Object at Noon” (2000), “Blissfully Yours” (2002), “Tropical Malady” (2004), “Syndromes and a Century” (2006), and “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” (2010), in addition to his video and installation works exhibited in museums, biennales and galleries. Mostly set in the depth of forests and rural areas of Thailand, Weerasethakul’s works are known for his idiosyncratic narrative and visual language that are inspired by Thai folklore, TV soap operas and Western cinema. Subtle and mysterious, they create intersections where the immediate reality and the surreal (at times utopian) collide, and address the personal politics and social issues.

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October 22nd through November 6th, 2011

Venue: Yokohama Creativecity Center




September 7th through 10th, 2011
Venue: ShContemporary Art Fair 2011, Video lounge program

Artists: Aaajiao (Xu Wenkai), Cheng Ran, Hu Xiangqian, Li Ming, Liu Chuang, Zhang Ding. etc.



Installation view. Photography: Justin.


September 9th through November 27th, 2011 VIP reception: Friday September 9th, 6-8pm

Artists: Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Guo Hongwei, Gabriel Lester, He An, Liang Yuanwei, Liu Wei, Sun Xun, Wang Yuyang


LEO XU PROJECTS is pleased to present group exhibition “Sweet Dreams (are made of this)” for the gallery’s inaugural show, featuring a selection of commissioned works from Liang Yuanwei, Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Guo Hongwei, Wang Yuyuang as well was pieces by Liu Wei and Sun Xun. Also on view are the re-staging of two classic pieces by He An and Gabriel Lester. The show runs from September 9th through to November 27th.

Referencing the 1983 hit from British music-duo Eurythmics of the same name, the exhibition takes the lyrics of “Sweet Dreams” as a foundation in which to explore and portray the oddities of both the utopian and dystopian-like elements of our everyday lives wherein “everybody’s looking for something”. In a time where the world feels increasingly small, this exhibition asks the presented artists to ponder the development of “relationships”, whether it be to themselves, to others, to society, from culture to culture or to their studio practices, especially with regards to the ever-changing visions of society, and of present reality.
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Cheng Ran: Immersion and Distance

September 5th through October 31st, 2009
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
798 Art District, No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China

The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) presents Cheng Ran’s exhibition, Immersion and Distance. Cheng Ran presents his works Punk’s Here, which includes a ‘midnight’ museum installation and a video displayed by three screens. The exhibition will be on display until October 31, 2009. Details »