Ren Hang.ROOMSOLD OUT
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Publisher: Self published (2011)
Category: Limited edition
Details: Softcover, 32 colour plates, 34 pages, 152 x 107 mm
Limited edition of 600 numbered copies. CONTAINS NUDITY
The second of Ren Hang's self-published photo books maintains the tone and themes of the first, Ren Hang: 2009-2011. Here, Ren focuses tightly on a small group of friends and collaborators to create a series of nude vignettes. Often shocking and sometimes bizarre Ren seldom leaves anything to the imagination, and while his photos never quite tip over into pornography sex is an ever present theme. Unsurprisingly his raw and provocative exploration of nudity and eroticism has stirred controversy in China where his works have faced criticism for being obscene and vulgar.
Like many young artists of his generation in China the work of photographers such as Nobuyoshi Araki and Wolfgang Tillmans is a powerful influence. To this Ren brings his own twists on trash pop culture, fashion and Japanese horror. The result is a body of images that overflows with raw energy and a mischievous desire to challenge conventional boundaries of taste and art in a still highly conservative society.
Issues of identity and reinvention are near the heart of Ren’s work and connect to the social media environment in China where Ren has successfully cultivated a cartoon-like bad-boy image, largely as a result of his personal website where many of these pictures were first published. Fashion and lifestyle shoots for various indie magazines both in China and overseas have further helped to make Ren an underground celebrity.
The explicit nature of his photography has often made it difficult for galleries in China to mount exhibitions of his pictures, and even for the artist to find printers willing to produce catalogues of his work.
Ren Hang 任航 (b.1987) is from Chang Chun in Jilin province. His photography has been shown at exhibitions including ‘Curated by RongRong – Qiu & Ren Hang: Inner Ear’ (2011) at Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, in Beijing; ‘New Photo Magazines’ at the Hong Kong Photo Festival 2010, and ‘Tora Tora Tora: Chinese Cutting-edge Photography’ at Caochangdi PhotoSpring 2010, in Beijing. In 2010 he was a winner of the Terna 03 Contemporary Art Prize (2010) in Rome. He lives in Beijing.