Poster of Life of the Pilgrim 422x598 - ShanghART Gallery presents "Li Ran – Life of the Pilgrim" in Beijing

The exhibition centers on the artist’s specific identity of Christian. The video work “Life of the Pilgrim”, which share the same name of the exhibition, is based on the artist’s great amount of photo collection, his personal writing and vocal imitation; the story follows the migration life and sectarian contradiction of Christians, all the clues are woven in a generational way with a déjà vu sense, as well as leading people’s attention to a reconstructed historical space-time. Instead of obscuring the original historical events, the artist frees them from the edge of the physical space of the boundary and political regionalization. He regains the shabby metaphors, translating and binding a rhetorical correspondence.

The “pilgrim” is a term to describe believers in many places of the New Testament; it explains the attribution of Christians’ identity. Similar terms include “foreign stranger”, “sojoumer” and so on. But these terms do not indicate their over-indulgence in this ideology, nor their dispelling of the existential worldview, but to clarify a matter of sight: their focus is not only on the world of being, but on discovering a better world that has been promised.

In fact, the explainers who manipulated this ideology lost their language in the context of a collective anti-themitism, they are like farmers who lost their tools, while the internal sectarian divisions offset people with different theologies from each other. I hope the not-so-deep film in the exhibition can bond some kind of estranged expression, making the vague imagery signals link to each other. In the face of the icy reality we all experience, I hope that these movements of translation and imitation, as well as the content they carry, can be revisited.

– 李然 | Li Ran

Another work in the exhibition, “Waiting for the New Suits”, took the reference sample of the Shanghai Garment Factory from spring of 1979 to early 80s after the reform and opening. As the artist put it: “Different from the situation in 77 and 78, the freedom of garment production was suddenly released, and the bulk of clothes were circulated in the market after imitation and production.” What co-located with the video are several deformed, dislocated, and mutilated limps sculptures, they appear in the spotlight partially and repeatedly. In another exhibition hall, sound and painting works that related to the subject will also be presented.

About the artist

Li Ran, 1986 born in Hubei, graduated from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Oil Painting Department with BFA in 2009. He now lives and works in Beijing. Li Ran was nominated for the “Future Generation Art Prize” at the Pinchuk Art Center in Kyiv, Ukraine (2017), and he received the Best Artist Award at the 4th Moscow International Youth Art Biennial (2014).

Main exhibitions includes: Clod Night, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing(2017); Future Generation Art Prize, Collateral Event of the 57th Venice Biennale, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice, Italy(2017); Museum no/off – Encounters with Pompidou, Center Pompidou-ESPACE, Pairs, France(2016); Artists’ Film Club: Li Ran, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, England (2015); Many Place at Once, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, USA(2014); Looking Forward, La Biennale de Montréal, Montreal, Canada(2014); FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects, Haus der Kulturen der Welt(HKW), Berlin, Germany(2013); ROUNDTABLE, The 9th Gwangju Biennale 2012, Gwangju, Korea(2012)etc.

About the exhibition

Dates: Dec 2, 2017 – Jan 26, 2018

Venue: ShanghART Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and ShanghART Gallery, for further information please visit

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