Hang, well hung
Chinese photographer Ren lets it all Hang out
Ren Hang is an unlikely rebel. slight of build, shy by nature, prone to fits of depression, the 28-year-old Beijing photographer is nonetheless at the forefront of Chinese artists’ battle for creative freedom. Like his champion Ai Weiwei, Ren is controversial in his homeland and wildly popular in the rest of the world. This is how he describes his work: I don't really view my work as taboo, because I don't think so much in cultural context, or political context. I don’t intentionally push boundaries, I just do what I do.”
Why? Because his models, friends, and increasingly, fans, are naked, often outdoors, high in the trees or on the terrifyingly vertiginous rooftops of Beijing, stacked like building blocks, heads wrapped in octopi, body cavities sprouting phone cords and flowers, seemingly portrayed as whatever felt right in the moment. He denies his intentions are sexual, and there is a clean detachment about even his most extreme images: the urine, the insertions, the many erections. Hang says in his work he likes to portray every organ in a fresh, vivid and emotional way.
In the same piece, Hang stands at the forefront of gender inclusiveness as he states “Gender isn’t important when I’m taking pictures, it only matters to me when I’m having sex.” Young fans eagerly follow his social media accounts. His photographs, all produced on film, have been the subject of over 20 solo and 70 group shows in his five-year career, in cities as disparate as Tokyo, Athens, Paris, New York, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Vienna, and yes, even Beijing. TASCHEN’s Ren Hang is the first international collection, covering his entire career, with well loved favourites and many never-before-seen photos of men, women, Beijing, all displaying the naked truth.
The exhibition of Ren Hang is on view at Foam 3h from 27 January until 12 March.
22.86 x 2.79 x 30.2 cm
January 20, 2017