Cheng Ran was born in 1981 in Inner Mongolia, and moved to Beijing where he graduated from the China Academy of Art in 2004. Currently he lives and works in Hangzhou.
In 2019 Cheng won the Nomura Emerging Artist Award. Cheng mainly focuses on new media and his artworks are mostly videos and films. Cheng’s works are created by applying basic cinematic techniques like simple cutting, rearranging, montage, full length shot. He connects film references and visual culture to produce fictional worlds and entities.
Cheng is represented by Leo Xu projects in Shanghai who included him as one of 9 Chinese artists in their inaugural exhibition Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) in 2011. Cheng Ran showed his video “Chewing Gum Paper” (2011) in which he creates a hypnotic celestial dreamscape set against an equally mesmerizing soundtrack featuring an edited loop of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”. Set into motion by the vibrations of a rock band’s performance, chewing gum wrappers shaped into small spheres dance atop a drum’s surface, mimicking the movements of a large gathering or demonstration of people. In 2016, he gained his first US solo exhibition at New York’s The New Museum, the culmination of his three-month residency at the Museum, part of a new partnership with China’s K11 Art Foundation. The artist showed a new multi-video installation. Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman, which borrows its title from what is widely considered China’s first modern short story, written by Lu Xun in 1918. Cheng’s fifteen new videos take the form of diaristic vignettes that reveal a larger assessment of a foreign place through the eyes of an outsider. The New Museum residency was initiated in partnership with K11 Art Foundation (KAF) to support the production of new works by an emerging Chinese artist. In conjunction with the exhibition, the New Museum screened a special seven-hour cut of Cheng’s nine-hour film In Course of the Miraculous, 2015, edited by the artist for this occasion.