Diary of a Madman: Trilogy - Cheng Ran
Curated by Guo Xiaohui and Silia Tung
2017.01.18. - 2018.03.17.
The Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) Tel Aviv
CCA is proud to present “Diary of a Madman: Trilogy,” by Chinese artist Cheng Ran, following his Outset Israel residency in 2016. This is Cheng’s first solo show in Israel, it is also the first time a selection from 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 in New Museum, New York, 2016) to Diary of a Madman: Chow Chow and the Hawk (exhibited in 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 around 500 photographs taken by Cheng during his residency in Israel.
This new chapter, shot in Jerusalem, is narrated in Chinese and Hebrew and it tells a story with the central theme of “the self.” The title of the work is a direct reference to the short story Diary of a Madman (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 inadequate man who believes that 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.
Since his last epic nine-hour long video work entitled In Course of the Miraculous (2016), Cheng Ran has increasingly become interested in the idea of “otherness,” relationship 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 to develop a poetic language that channels both the existentialist internal world and the externally ‘other’.