Pioneering video artist Cheng Ran interprets passages from Chinese punk novelist Wei Wei’s adaptation of Venus in Furs—the landmark nineteenth-century novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch about a nobleman’s desire to be sexually dominated by a woman.
Hedonistic strobe lighting, raging fire and industrial music make for a rapturous assault on the senses in this film that hurtles head-first into an exploration of masochistic desire. “This work contains more than five-hundred clips,” says Ran. “So it’s not just a video but a kind of mood.”
This film features stars of the underground arts scene, including cutting-edge model Seacreep and electronic music producer Guan, who perform in clothes designed by acclaimed Australian-Chinese fashion designer Yang Li.
Ran’s esoteric visuals dance alongside extracts from Wei Wei’s text, which is a cross-pollination of Chinese, French and English.
The Next Page (Venus in Furs) forms part of Notes From The Underground, a pair of films curated by Yang Li, which shines a spotlight on China’s subcultures and forms of self-expression. “These films explore the energy within one of the most exciting, creative countries in the world today,” says Li.
“China is both a source and destination for new ideas and the avant-garde,” he continues. “It has leaped from an agricultural country to an economic and creative powerhouse in a matter of thirty years, and this transition has produced a unique, multi-layered, creative ecosystem.”