Born 1981, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia. Lives and works in Hangzhou

Cheng Ran’s quirky videos invest everyday banality with otherworldly touches, raising the commonplace into the sublime. Joss (2013), made with Item Idem, celebrates the burning of fake “ghost money” and paper replicas of products from designer handbags to iPads and McDonald’s stores in rituals to ensure that the dead enjoy the best after-life style their relatives can provide. Ghost/Hamlet (2012) presents a couple dancing in half-darkness to no music but the sounds of their own bodies, then diving into water and, freed from gravity, continuing the dance. In Chewing Gum Paper (2011), screwed-up balls of foil skitter and dance on the skin of a drum as snatches of speeches by Martin Luther King play in the background—ordinary trash “animated” by invisible drumsticks and the voice of a ghost. Summanus Butterfly (2010) transforms a short video of a butterfly in Cheng Ran’s bedroom into a five-minute animated “ink painting” named after the Roman god of thunder.

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