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 OCAT 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, Shunde, China (2022); Sifang Museum, Nanjing, China (2021); OCAT 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, China (2017); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Manila, Philippines (2016); OCAT 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.