About Cheng Ran

Born in Inner Mongolia, China, the artist participated in the artist residence programme at the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in the Netherlands from 2013 to 2014. He founded the art space, Martin Goya Business, in 2017.

As a representative of China’s new generation of video and cross-media artists, Cheng Ran has been trying different artistic forms including film, poetry, drama, novel, and installation, etc. Relying on his vibrant mindset, sometimes detached and more often experimental spirit, he is especially good at changing the sense of space, structure and one’s conception towards the original object by undefined use of materials. The switch between texts and visual language created by the artist, allows the audience to float between reality and imagination, presenting the poetics of nihilism. In fact, the artist re-patches aesthetic elements as such into his own unique artistic language. His works in general reflect on the existential state of the Chinese young generation
under the impact of political and cultural globalization. From these works, we can see that the artist doesn’t pay much attention to the issue of “identity”, but more to discovering new values from diverse cultures brought by globalization. It seems that the artist’s self-judgment can’t be easily spotted, while this largely speaks of his autonomy in artistic creation. We can also find this distinguished feature in many of Cheng Ran’s works, which always reflect his deep thoughts on universal themes including boundary, distinction, and even confrontation, marginalization, etc. in an all-round way.

Cheng Ran’s works have been featured in numerous biennials, group exhibitions and film festivals, including Sydney Opera house (2019); FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art An American City (Transformer Station, Cleveland, 2018); Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2017; The 63rd International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (Oberhausen, 2017); China Remixed Initiative (The Media School of the University of Indiana, Indiana, 2017); Time Test: International Video Art Research Exhibition (CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, 2016); SALTWATER: a Theory of Thought Forms, the 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015); When I Give, I Give Myself (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, 2015); Inside China - L’Intérieur du Géant (chi K11 art museum, Shanghai, 2015; K11 Art Foundation Pop-Up Space, Hong Kong, 2015; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2014); the 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial (Shenzhen, 2014); Decorum: carpets and tapestries by artists (Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2014); ON|OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2013); the 26th European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück, Germany, 2013); Video Art in China – MADATAC (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2011); The Third Guangzhou Triennial (Guangzhou Museum of Art, Guangzhou, 2008) and The Second Chinese New Media Art Festival (China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, 2004). For the presentation of Inside China in Paris, Cheng Ran’s video Joss (2013) was projected on the façade of the Palais de Tokyo. For Shanghai Art Week 2018, the Art021 fair installed a giant inflatable cat by Cheng Ran, The Windy Theatre, with a selection of works by young artists housed inside. Cheng Ran’s recent solo exhibitions include New Museum, New York; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; MAC, Belfast; K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong.