In Course of the Miraculous | Cheng Ran at The MAC


5 October to 14 January

Cheng Ran (b. 1981, Inner Mongolia, China) is one of the most promising Chinese artists of his generation. Since 2005, he has been producing film and video works that draw widely from both Western and Chinese literature, poetry, cinema, and visual culture, fabricating new narratives that combine myths and historical events.

In Course of the Miraculous (2015) is a durational film work, lasting almost eight hours, which imagines the stories behind three real-life mysterious disappearances. These include British mountaineer George Mallory, who went missing while ascending Mount Everest in 1924; artist Bas Jan Ader, who vanished during his 1975 journey across the Atlantic as part of a performance titled In Search of the Miraculous; and the Chinese fishing trawler Lu Rong Yu no. 2682, which in 2011 returned to land after eight months with only one-third of its original crew still alive.

The film was shot across continents in the East China Sea, Tibet, Switzerland and Amsterdam, with a large-scale set created in an indoor shooting stage in Beijing to recreate the dramatic scenes at sea. From a crossing of the Atlantic, to an expedition to the summit of Mount Everest, to inexperienced sailors losing the majority of their crew before returning to Mainland China, a spirit of exploration, loss and melancholy unite the diverse stories. The premise of this work is based on recorded events but as the film develops, the progression enters the dominion of fiction, creating imagined dialogues discussing larger themes of action, courage and bravery.

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