Catalogue essay by Xiaohui Guo 

Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman - Trilogy

CCA, Tel Aviv, Israel

18th Jan  — 17th Mar 2018

Curated by Xiaohui Guo & Silia Ka Tung
策展人:郭小晖  董葭

Press release 新闻稿

Presented in this exhibition is a selection of videos from “Diary of a Madman: New York” (exhibited at the New Museum, New York, 2016) to “Diary of a Madman: Chow Chow and the Hawk” (exhibited at 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 an installation of around 500 photographs taken by Cheng during his residency in Israel.

This new chapter, shot in Jerusalem, is narrated in Chinese and Hebrew and tells a story whose central theme is ‘the self.’ The title of the work is a direct reference to the short story A Madman’s Diary (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 challenged man who believes 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.
该新作品在耶路撒冷拍摄完成,用希伯来语和汉语讲述了一个关于“自我”的主题。作品的题目借用了中国作家鲁迅(生于浙江,1881 -1936年)的短篇小说“狂人日记”。‘狂人日记’以第一人称叙述与日记形式为主线,讲述了一个精神分裂的人的故事,主人公深信周遭的人都变成了食人的恶人,并集体谋划把他吃掉。在程然的《狂人日记》中,第一人称叙述和近似疯狂的被异化感以及一种强烈的失落感始终贯穿整个作品。

Installation shots: