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

Press release

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.

Installation shots: