While one after the other, the contemporary artists blossom in a world thirsty for self expression, reflection and above all, criticism for their sometimes questionable methods, there are a few places where censorship is still applied. Yet, Ren Hang’s powerful images manage to speak louder than words – and opinions.
Ren Hang introduces himself as a photographer and poet, even though if the job is done well enough, these two will collide. Like another Ginsberg of the East, Hang is at the forefront of his movement and virtualizes his need to deliver a view on life as he defines it: raw, natural, imaginative, sexual and beautiful in every provocative aspect. But this kind of radical work found many opponents in his homeland, China, since the beginning of his career in 2008. That means, he managed to shock about the 19,1% of the entire world’s population – a pretty damn badass achievement if you ask us. But we, asked him and he stated:
“I’m used to be blocked in China and I’ve even been arrested by the Chinese police, too. But it’s not just China; in many countries in the world I’m not allowed to display nude photographic content. But I will continue to shoot it.”
“Most of the Chinese people are very conservative. They think that nudity shouldn’t be publicly displayed because it’s considered as something shameful. I personally don’t understand what nude has to do with it. Each one has its own body and there’s nothing shameful about it. Nudity and sex are natural, good things. They’re real. And I like realism.”
What the eye goes for at first, when you look at Ren Hang’s photographs is undoubtfully the nude factor. But his version of realism is so artfully unsheltered that, in the end the mind is detached from sex and vulgarity. A task not that hard for Hang:
“I did not deliberately set out to demonstrate or get rid of something. When I shoot, I don’t think about people’s reaction. Sex is not vulgar. On the contrary, it’s very nice. And nude is not necessarily identical to sex. Nudity is the body.”
But whether or not you find any truth in “Art is not art unless it makes you uncomfortable”, sure thing is that Ren Hang will continue to serve food for thought straight from the most sincere human instincts.