03 March 2017
A talented soul disappears
Subversive, without any taboo, poetry pegged to the bodies … Such was Ren Hang, a 29-year-old Chinese photographer, part of the Queer world, whose work has been dazzling in six years only.
On his website, poetry is the first to appear: haiku, funny little poems, often referencing sex and death. If Ren Hang’s work was often compared to Terry Richardson’s work, it is extremely different though. His images, although showing naked bodies or raw sex, are free of lubricity. The young photographer was about to celebrate his thirtieth birthday this year, but decided otherwise by killing himself in Berlin. In the name of that absolute freedom which he sought and cherished, the agitator, the provocateur, the persecuted artist, censured by Chinese power, committed suicide or, rather, according to his own point of view “liberated” : “Every year my wish remains the same: to die earlier,” Ren wrote in a recent post on his Weibo account less than a month ago. “I hope this year it can become a reality. »
He chose the number 29, one month before the anniversary of his thirty years, and two months after the publication of a complete monograph published by Taschen, after sixteen monographs published under his own author’s account.
Following the steps of his defender, Ai Weiwei, Ren produced works that the Communist state considered dangerous for society. Ren asserted, however: “The political ideas expressed in my images have nothing to do with China. It is the Chinese politics that wants to be introduced into my art. One of my exhibitions has already been canceled by the Chinese government for « sex suspicion.”
“I like to represent each organ in a new, living and emotional way,” he said. In March 2014, invited to exhibit in solo for the first time in Paris by the Nue Galerie, he created on the spot an exclusive series of images with French models. “I am delighted to come and present my work in France, as it is difficult to exhibit my photos in China.” The world of photography, the world itself, loses an huge talent.
Les travaux de Ren Hang
Some prints are still available for purchase on the site of Nue Galerie
Video of the photoshoot in Paris for the NUE Galerie
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Exhibition in Amsterdam
Naked / Nuded, the exhibition inaugurates a new space at Foam, the Foam 3h
Until March 12th, 2017
FOAM museum Amsterdam