Be a Body: Ren Hang and The Freedom of Being
Just being a controversial artist living in the modern “Great Firewall” of China is, in itself, a brave and an awesome act of radicalism. The information prison that China has become is notorious for placing dissenting writers, bloggers, human rights lawyers and provocative artists, like Ai Weiwei, into real prison or undisclosed, isolated locations.
Ren Hang has the balls, and photographs a large number of them, along with boobs, dicks, pussies, buttholes, and every other inch of the naked human body in his seductive, risqué, flesh-and-flash-filled images. He’s been boldly doing so for many years and, unsurprisingly, has encountered a variety of roadblocks.
Yes, his work was literally spat upon in a gallery, and he has been arrested for shooting photos in public and forbidden from exhibiting his work in his country of birth. Despite such targeted challenges, Hang expresses a deep connection and love for his country, and vows to continue his photographic endeavors. He’s also made it clear that his work has nothing to do with politics and that China has had little influence on what he creates. His photographs are simply what you see, and new eyes will continue to widen when exposed to Hang’s expanding international calendar of exhibitions. —Austin McManus
Ren Hang’s newest book, New Love, has been published by Session Press. The book includes “casual snapshots taken of friends in parks, cafés, streets and apartments in Brooklyn and Manhattan, smartly blended with the striking nude photos he is becoming increasingly renowned for.”
The above text is an excerpt from the January, 2016 issue of Juxtapoz, available here.