Cheng Ran is widely considered as a leading figure in video and photography among China’s new generation of artists. His photographs and video works are dramatically staged and infused with tones of romanticism throughout. The cinematic qualities of his work is particularly vivid in the barren photos of the iconic Hollywood sign in ‘Ghost of Tunra’, underlies which is the artist’s critical exploration of the influence of American cinema on younger Chinese generations. Departing from his predecessor’s radical portrayal of modern life and social changes in China after the Cultural Revolution, Cheng Ran finds inspirations in music, youth culture and European art house cinemas. The artist’s video works capture the innermost struggles of young Chinese and how their living experiences are greatly influenced by the Western culture and the globalised world. These works often lack completion and narrative threads, focusing instead on a diminutive moment in daily life and driven by sentiments.
Born in 1981 in Inner Mongolia, China, Cheng Ran graduated from China Academy of Art in Hangzhou in 2004, after which he worked under Yang Fudong, one of China's best-known cinematographer and photographer, for five years. Cheng Ran has exhibited widely both locally and internationally, notably at Salzburg Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg, Austria (2006), Shanghai Art Museum, China (2007), Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, China (2008), Guangdong Art Museum, China (2008), ‘Yi Pai - Century Thinking’ at Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2009), James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai, China; New York, USA (2010), Meulensteen Gallery, New York, USA (2011), Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2011), Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2011), Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, UK (2011), Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China (2012), Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing, China; Lucerne, Switzerland (2013), and ‘ON|OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice’ at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2013). He was in residency at the Rijksakademie (Royal Academy of Visual Arts) in Amsterdam between 2012 and 2013.