The late Chinese photographer Ren Hang, who committed suicide in 2017, is the subject of the inaugural exhibition by Simon Baker, the newly-appointed director of MEP, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, in Paris.
LOVE, REN HANG features around 150 photographs from various collections in Europe and China. The visual language of the Chinese artist, close to Araki and Bourdin, mixes vibrant red lipstick, sexuality, tragedy, skins, darkness, and a strong dose of irony and humour.
Was he taking his art seriously? No one knows. Questioning sexuality, the condition of youngsters growing up in urban China, the controversial artist often references “cynical realism” (Chinese artistic movement born of the events of Tian’anmen in 1989) and staged his friends and lovers in different situations involving natural settings, animals, flowers and sexual encounters. Even though Ren Hang often stated that his work did not set out to challenge the political establishment – his oeuvre remains, with respect to a repressive context, the expression of a yearning for creative freedom, freshness and impulsiveness.
The artist died in 2017, at the age of 29. His prolific work has been exhibited in numerous galleries around the world. A fashion darling, he regularly published in fashion magazines such as Purple and Numero.
This show, which runs until 26 May 2019 is presented concurrently with exhibitions of works by Coco Capitán, and Yookyung Jang.