Ren Hang: The Art of Taboo

‘I don’t really view my work as taboo, because I don’t think so much in cultural context, or political context. I don’t intentionally push boundaries, I just do what I do.’ Born in jilin province in 1987, Hang was best know for his images of chinese youth, often naked and arranged in strange and surreal compositions. Poet and photographer, the artist combined urban and natural environments to create fantastical and unflinchingly raw portrayals of young people — both in china and abroad. Due to the graphic and overtly sexual nature of hang’s work, he was frequently censored in his home country, even going so far as to be threatened with arrest. Hang’s subjects — usually just his friends — are arranged into peculiar choreographies: a jumble of limbs, faces and features that interact both with each other the world around them. Laden with eroticism and mystique, Hang’s work was an unfaltering reaction to his home country’s repression of sexuality and sexual identity, and a celebration of the human form. ‘People come into this world naked and I consider naked bodies to be people’s original, authentic look,’ Hang told vice magazine back in 2013. ‘I feel the real existence of people through their naked bodies.’ Shooting exclusively on film, he has been widely exhibited, holding solo shows in china, and group exhibitions in italy, france, russia, israel, sweden and more.