In his new performance Neoclassical, specifically created, to be first staged at Galerie Urs Meile on the occasion of Gallery Weekend Beijing 2017, Cheng Ran will present a sequel of his ongoing collaboration with the notorious Chinese underground musicians Li Jianhong, Wang Ziheng and Soviet Pop. The artist and the musicians previously toured Europe and staged at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Armada in Milano and in Amsterdam. The group is going to further investigate their experimental musical compositions in putting them into dialogue with Cheng Ran’s re-edited video in which he uses archive material in combination with sequences of his earlier films.
The performance will be staged at the construction site of Galerie Urs Meile’s additional new space at 798 East Street (inauguration on May 19 and 20). The screening of the video will continue and the venue is accessible throughout the entire Beijing Gallery Weekend.
Cheng Ran works in media that are products of complex and globalized conditions while simultaneously traversing a global art system. His video works are full of references that both create deeply moving reflections and as well credit his predecessors. Watching Cheng Ran’s video works is like watching a magician perform tricks that utilize his entire toolbox. He offers amusements that are magically realized through a signature practice of intersecting images with sound. He oftentimes appropriates visual and aural components from classics to create an entirely new video. This approach enables him to push the spirit of the past in what seems like a strategy of disengagement all while de-familiarizing familiar scenes to the point that they become strange and dream-like. He is always lashing out in full force with electric images and loads of sounds channeled through music, voice, and random noise.
Cheng Ran was born in 1981 in Inner Mongolia, China, and currently lives and works in Hangzhou, China. Cheng Ran’s most recent solo exhibitions include Diary of a Madman at the New Museum, New York (2016) and In Course of the Miraculous at the K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong (2016), and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, Beijing (2015). His other solo shows have been presented at: Qiao Space, Shanghai (2016), YUAN Space, Beijing (2015), and Armada, Milan (2014). Cheng Ran was nominated for the first edition of the OCAT & Pierre Huber Art Prize in 2014 and the Absolut Art Award in 2013, and was named the “Best Video Artist” by the art magazine Randian in 2011. His work has been featured in numerous biennials and group exhibitions, including The World Precedes the Eye, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Singapore (2016); Unlimited, Art Basel, Basel (2016); SALTWATER: a Theory of Thought Forms, the 14th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2015); When I Give, I Give Myself, the 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); Cinematheque: Music is On, Band is Gone, chi K11 art museum, Shanghai (2015); Degeneration, Australia China Art Foundation (ACAF), Sydney (2014) and OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Shanghai (2013); and ON|OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013).
Soviet Pop is an electroacoustic duo formed by Li Qing and Li Weisi. The band mainly uses modular synthesizers, analog tape recorders and any other object, which can be used to produce sound, to perform low volume music rich in detail. Their live performance is an improvisation on the basis of an underlying composition. Both performers and the audience will be unanimously seized by the energy inherent in the sound.
Li Jianhong is a free improv guitarist and a leading figure in mainland China’s free improvisation music scene. His style is skillfully traversing between free improvised music, noise and psychedelic. Since 2008, he began to explore new directions under the name of “environment improvisation”, investigating the co-relationships between environment and performing.
Wang Ziheng’s solo performances are bold and full of passion. His profound understanding of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation is far beyond that of his peers, empowering him with much more possibilities. His performances of improved noise style remind people of the power metal band Dionysus, full of euphoria and yet sentimental. Besides his solo projects, he also has the psychedelic noise band Morning Wood.