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Pretty Knowledge
Solo Exhibition Aike Dellarco, Shanghai
Date: 09.05, 2012 - 10.15, 2012

Artists: LI Ran 李然

The exhibition will showcase four of Li Ran's newest works, the title of one of which lends its name to the title of the exhibition, "Pretty Knowledge." In a society of the spectacle, "knowledge" has been relegated to merely one element in the spectacle of an installation. In this exhibition, Li Ran employs the mode of performance to feed off, like a parasite, different roles and events, and by mimicking and alternating between historical prophecies, Soviet cinema, imitations, as well as television programs, he proceeds to ridicule and satirize the "knowledge" that is now, more than ever, likely to be a part of a "pretty" spectacle.

The dual-channel video, "Pretty Knowledge," is Li Ran's mimicry of what a French seer in 1980 predicted to be the events of the next thirty years. By the time these are reiterated, the prophecies had already become a part of history. When the longing for the future and the reminiscence of the past are set in contrast against one another, identical content ends up having utterly different meanings, while the work contains within itself Li Ran's understanding of "modernity." Originally, the series—"Before and After" was painter William Hogarth’s work about temporal narrative situated at the turning point of British Modernism; by placing it within the context of the present day for renewed observation, Li Ran proceeds to engage in deconstruction and repainting.

His video installation, "Beyond Geography", films a series of encounters that arise as Li Ran brings the audience along into an imaginary jungle. The entire experience is also a process wherein he undertakes a conceptual portrayal of the social order. With regards to the overall understanding of art, Li Ran hopes to be able to overcome the simple relationships of "geographic" boundaries and return to concrete observation through individual experiences. "From Truck Driver to the Political Commissar of the Mounted Troops" is Li Ran's satiric mimicry of the main character's life in a Soviet film, "The Fate of a Man." The work cuts through the politics, love, nostalgia, and the unreliable spiritual world of "a man," very much like the "unexpected encounters" faced by the artist as an individual in his thought processes and practice.

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