April 11, 2018

Ren Hang (1987-2017) exemplary for young generation Chinese artists

The solo exhibition Naked/Nude by photographer Ren Hang who suddenly passed away last week is on view until 12 March 2017 at Amsterdam's Foam.

Last weekend the news of Ren Hang's sudden death saddened art lovers across the world. Ren Hang, an outstanding young talent in China's contemporary photography, took his own life at an early age of 29.  Ren' solo exhibition Naked/Nude is still ongoing at Amsterdam's Foam, until 12 March 2017.

Forbidden nudity
As a self-taught photographer, Ren was known for his explicit images of nude, youthful bodies. They are frequently drapped in absurd compositions and decorated with colorful accessories, such as palm tree leaves, peacock heads or goldfishes. Although controversial and sometimes rather provocative - especially to his home country China, where public nudity is forbidden, even in artistic expressions - Ren's photographic works are highly recognizable with a peculiar and unworldly sense of poetry. His daring work also made him a representative of the younger generation of Chinese artists, who tend to seek more freedom of self-expression. 

Young Chinese artists
In the past years, Ren's work has been shown in various exhibitions and magazines in China and the rest of the world. His frequent Weibo (the Chinese Twitter) and Instagram posts easily collected thousands of like's. Ren Hang is also familiar to Dutch audiences. His photographs were exhibited in the group exhibition FUCK OFF 2 in the Groninger Museum in 2013, co-curated by Feng Boyi and the artist-activist Ai Weiwei. In 2016 Ren Hang was selected by the Outset | Unseen Exhibition Fund during the Unseen Photo Fair. The Foam exhibition Naked/Nude followed as a result.

Ren Hang was one of the young Chinese artists who have been introduced to Dutch museums and art institutions in recent years. Two months ago the group exhibition Poets of Beijing was successfully shown in Maastricht. The exhibition Forbidden Porcelain at Museum Prinsenhof Delft, which will be opened by queen Máxima in April, will also diplay work by three young Chinese artists together with Dutch peers.