A unique voice in the landscape of contemporary Chinese art, Ran Huang (b. 1982, Xichang, Sichuan, China) is a multidisciplinary artist known primarily for his film and video work, whose practice also encompasses painting, sculpture, installation, drawing and film. Despite his multi-faceted approach, Huang’s thesis remains consistent: the instability of the human experience, the tensions that arise between narratives of truth and fiction, and the deconstruction of the concept of history. Critically engaged by the nature of perception, Huang’s oeuvre deals in juxtaposition and paradox, deconstructing systems of representation and rearranging the resulting elements in new and unsettling ways.
Huang’s films, such as Disruptive Desires, Tranquillity and the Loss of Lucidity (2012), Blithe Tragedy (2010) and Fake Action Truth (2009) have garnered international attention and critical acclaim. His most recent short film, The Administration of Glory (2014) was selected for the Palme d’Or at the 67th Cannes International Film Festival. It brings together five parallel narratives exploring themes of deception, theft and violation. Working from an autobiographical perspective, the film asserts the possibilities of drama, often exhibiting tensions between surface and story, where the seduction of image and narrative serve as a façade for the artist’s interrogation of the conditions of artistic practice and the possibility of historical credibility. For Huang, film represents a compelling medium that he hopes will induce his viewers to bypass a cynical inclination towards reason, in favour of a state of unadulterated belief. He observes, ‘you know that everything is designed, everything is faked, but you still believe it. Everything is about image and everything can be superficial, but at the same time, it is very complex and potent’.