Translated by
Nicola Mira
Feb 27, 2017
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Chinese photographer Ren Hang dies at 29

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Feb 27, 2017

Ren Hang was a world-renowned photographer, born in the outskirts of Changchun, in north-western China, and lately living in Beijing. His talent was recognised eight years ago, after his celebrated series of nude pictures, which presented a new, freer image of Chinese youth. His ephemeral young women, snake-haired, bare bodies, and interlocked, piled-up and entwined figures were a far cry from China’s current social and political ethics.

Ren Hang

His photography introduced a new, utterly unrestrained way of portraying nakedness. His compositions were often crude, featuring young women, hairless, erect young men or women kissing. Ren Hang's poeticism was regarded as provocative in China, and was censored several times.

Ren Hang's work featured in some 20 personal exhibitions and 70 collective ones, chiefly in Europe: in Paris, at the NUE and the 104 galleries and at the Paris Photo event, in London at Photo London, and at the Foam Museum in Amsterdam, where he recently inaugurated a new exhibition, open until 12th March.

Last year, he also worked on the photoshoot for the launch campaign of fashion label Kitsuné's footwear line.

Ren Hang's depression was well-documented in his personal blog, as was his desire to die as young as possible. He has committed suicide at the age of 29, leaving behind him a unique body of work, including some fifteen self-published monographs.

German publisher Taschen recently published the latest volume featuring Ren Hang's work, written by Dian Hanson, a former journalist who was editor-in-chief at men's magazines such as Juggs, Outlaw Biker and Leg Show before taking charge of Taschen's erotic titles. In the book, Hanson tells the Chinese artist's story, from his debut as an advertising photographer until the present, choosing a selection of his most highly rated and popular pictures.

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