Li Ran: The Repetition of Mont Sainte-Victoire

2023.04.30 Sunday 19:00


2F, The Cloister Apartments, 62 West Fuxing Road, Shanghai

Performer: Li Ran

In 2012, when I was still in Beijing, I made this artwork, the title of which quotes a mountain that Paul Cézanne repeatedly used as a sketching subject, Mont Sainte-Victoire. It was also my first solo exhibition into the art scene. In the introduction to the exhibition, I quoted a statement by Kierkegaard on repetition, “Repetition and recollection are the same movement, only in opposite directions; for what is recollected is repeated backwards, whereas genuine repetition is recollected forwards.”

Again, I'm looking at the performance script I wrote at the time, which includes four chapters: Reflection of Images and Scenes, Gaze, Competition and Encounter. There are many vague metaphors, misplaced textual collages, as well as contradictions about the art industry, art history writing, modernism, affirmative action...... and so on, all of which remind me of the context of art practices ten years ago. In fact, all along these things in the script have been the objects of my sketches, and still are. Thus, in roughly no more than 40 minutes, I would like to make this live performance again.

About the Performer

Li Ran’s practice ranges across multiple media from video, performance and painting, to installation and writing, using techniques such as mimicry, repetition and satire to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction. In recent years, he has been researching antagonist roles in theatre, stage art, make-up design, the production of foreign films and espionage films produced in China since the 1950s. Based on archival photos, character scenes and dubbed monologues, Li develops subjective and personalised narratives and expands upon themes including politics, ideology and performativity, as well as notions of time and space, through his writing painting, sound, and installation.

Li Ran was born in Hubei, China in 1986. He moved from Beijing to Shanghai in 2018. He graduated with a BFA from the Oil Painting Department from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2009. In 2015, Li held a solo exhibition at OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Xi'an, China. His single-channel video work was screened at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London and The Jewish Museum, New York. He has exhibited in group shows at the Art Sonje Center, Seoul, Korea (2022); He Art Museum, Fo Shan, China (2022); Sifang Museum, Nanjing, China (2021, 2015); OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shanghai, China (2021, 2019, 2014, 2013); Inside-Out Art Museum, Beijing, China (2020); HOW Museum, Shanghai, China (2019); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing and Shanghai, China (2023, 2017, 2013); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Manila, Philippines (2016); OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, China (2016, 2013, 2012, 2011); NTU Center For Contemporary Art Singapore (CCA), Singapore (2015); Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, USA (2014); Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, Germany (2013); basis door actuele kunst (BAK), Utrecht, Netherlands (2013); Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), Houston, USA (2012) and other venues. His works were featured in Montreal Biennale (2014); Biennale of Moving Images, Geneva (2014); 4th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (2014); 2nd CAFAM Biennial, Beijing (2014), 4th ‘Former West’ Project, Berlin (2013), 9th Gwangju Biennial (2012), and 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale (2012). Li was awarded the ‘Best Artist Award’ at the Moscow International Youth Art Biennial in 2014 and was nominated for the ‘Future Generation Award’ by the Pinchuk Arts Center in 2017.

About the Vortex

Vortex is a long-term project. We will update the content of performance lectures by artists and talks by experts both on- and offline. Following the fundamental approach of connecting local practice, theories, and context, we hope that this nonstandard art venue will become a place of torrents, flux, and confluence.

The Macalline Center of Art (MACA) is a non-profit art institution located in the 798 Art District of Beijing and officially inaugurated its space on January 15, 2022. Occupying a two-story building with a total area of 900 square meters, MACA unites artists, curators, and other art and cultural practitioners from around the world. Through its diverse, ongoing, and collaborative approaches, the Center establishes a new site on the contemporary art scene. Guided by the “work of artists” and backed by interdisciplinary research, the Center aims to bring together a community passionate about art and devoted to the “contemporary” moment so as to respond proactively to our rapidly evolving times.