Ren Hang: Using The Body as Sculpture

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Ren Hang: Using The Body as Sculpture
Ren Hang, No Title
Ren Hang: Using The Body as Sculpture

Born in 1987 in Chang Chun, Jilin province in Northeast China, the avant-garde photographer Ren Hang is now based in Beijing.

Hang’s photographs depict naked bodies as sculpture. Sometimes explicit, sometimes beautiful, often humorous, Hang’s works have a snapshot-like feel, and appear playful and spontaneous. They are, however, carefully staged, with the photographer choreographing his models, who are still mostly close friends of the artist. He has stated; ‘I like shooting my friends because they trust me, which makes me feel more relaxed. I can only take my best work when I’m in that state.’ Although open to the element of chance, Hang has a clear vision of each image’s final composition, and asks his subjects to contort and intertwine their bodies to produce unfamiliar angles.

The explicit content of Hang’s work has led to obscenity charges and the censorship of his work in his home country. China does not allow outdoor nudity, so he has to be very careful when shooting. Despite the restrictions, Hang has enjoyed international acclaim. The artist, Ai Weiwei, invited him to join the group exhibition Fuck Off 2 in the Netherlands. The exhibition showcased the new wave of twentieth- century Chinese art.

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