Since his last epic nine-hour long video work entitled In Course of the Miraculous (2016), Cheng Ran (*1981, Inner Mongolia, China; lives and works in Hangzhou, China) has increasingly become interested in the idea of ‘otherness,’ relationships between time and urban environment, and the meaning of language. Inspired by a diverse range of sources, from the internet and advertising to political affairs and obscure mythical events, Cheng is capable of developing a poetic language that channels both the existentialist internal world and the externally ‘other.’
Following his Outset Residency in Tel Aviv, “Diary of a Madman: Trilogy” is Cheng’s first solo exhibition in Israel, and is also the first time the complete trilogy is presented to the public, providing a unique opportunity to understand Cheng’s oeuvre and diverse range of subjects.
Presented in this exhibition is a selection of videos from “Diary of a Madman: New York” (exhibited at the New Museum, New York, 2016) to “Diary of a Madman: Chow Chow and the Hawk” (exhibited at Oil Street Art Space, Hong Kong, 2017). It will also include the last chapter of the trilogy: a large three-channel projection entitled “Diary of a Madman: Jerusalem,” as well as an installation of around 500 photographs taken by Cheng during his residency in Israel.
This new chapter, shot in Jerusalem, is narrated in Chinese and Hebrew and tells a story whose central theme is ‘the self’. The title of the work is a direct reference to the short story A Madman’s Diary (1918) by one of China’s founding modernist authors, Lu Xun (1881-1936), which was narrated in first-person and arranged as dairy entries. It tells the story of a mentally challenged man who believes all those around him have become cannibalistic, plotting to prey on him. Similarly, in Cheng’s work, first-person narrative and a profound sense of loss, alienation, and madness run throughout its course.
“Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman – Trilogy” is guest-curated by Xiaohui Guo and Silia Ka Tung.
The exhibition is is accompanied by a booklet in English and Hebrew and an artist talk on January 18.
“Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman – Trilogy” is supported by Blue Mountain Contemporary Art, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Galerie Urs Meile, Bejing / Lucerne, and powered by Niio.art.
“Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman – Trilogy,” 2018
View of the exhibition at CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo
Photo: Eyal Agivayev
The Bridge, 2016
Courtesy of the artist, K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong, and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing / Lucerne.
The Homing Pigeon, 2015
Courtesy of the artist
Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman – Trilogy
March 16, 2018
January 18, 2018