Art & Design

NSFW: Photographer Ren Hang Is Exposing China’s Youth

Art & Design

NSFW: Photographer Ren Hang Is Exposing China’s Youth

Ren Hang, 2013
Ren Hang, 2013
Ren Hang, 2012
Ren Hang, 2012
Ren Hang, 2013
Ren Hang, 2012
Ren Hang, 2013
Ren Hang, 2013
Ren Hang, 2013
Ren Hang, 2012
Ren Hang, 2013
+

Lithe limbs twined amidst field growth, hair and rope bondage, aesthetized assholes, edible genitals. Ren Hang’s photographs of nude youth may remind you of the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, Ryan McGinley, Nan Goldin, Terry Richardson, Nobuyoshi Araki, and/or Juergen Teller. His intrigue isn’t formal though, it’s contextual. Ren Hang was born in a Northeastern province of China in 1987. A quarter-century young, he is representing a sidebacksides, undersidesof China rarely before seen. Hang’s images demonstrate how youth across cultures are interested in the same. Exhibiting a penis and jam sandwich or boy love means more in contemporary China, though, and “deliberately provocative” Hang is out to challenge his country’s conservatism. The work is controversial at home but still shown; so far, Rang’s had several solo shows in China. He has also published a book titled Republic and appeared in several international group shows, including ones in Italy, France, Russia, Israel and Sweden. I chatted with Ren via e-mail this past week. Although most of our correspondence was lost in translation, we managed to settle on a few details.

Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I was born in Changchun City, Jilin Province, China. Now living in Beijing.

Who are your subjects? 
My models are my friends. They are those who are closest to me, they trust me, and so they’re natural in front of me.

Do you take self-portraits? 
No.

Your work is widely circulated online. Where and how do you best like your work viewed?
I hope for my photos to take any form that people can see. I hope that everyone can see my photos, and all face up to their nudity. Nudity is not a shame.