A new photographic exhibition has opened in Fotografiska, Stockholm, «Human Love» by the Chinese photographer Ren Hang. The Hang has often been chased by the police when photographing naked people on rooftops, in the woods or other public places.
“My pictures’ politics have nothing to do with China,” says Ren. “It’s Chinese politics that wants to interfere with my art. China doesn’t allow outdoor nudity. I’m very careful about taking pictures outside. If I see police, I’ll run. But I’m not hiding as I’m taking pictures,” he adds.
It’s not everyday that a new photography exhibition as powerful, touching and as imaginative as Ren Hang’s vision is available to the public. Fotografiska in Stockholm is therefore proud to announce “Human Love,” a solo photography show by Beijing-based artist Ren Hang, on view through 2 April.
Ren Hang is famous for his exploration of the multi-faceted, quasi-magical links between man and nature. In an interview with the daily Dagens Nyheter, Renm Hang said, “Chinese journalists wonder what my images mean, while European journalists want to know what the Chinese art scene is like.”
Ren’s photography is so open and bright, yet his direction can sometimes be dark and private. Mixing the two together is what you’ll find in the exhibition “Human Love”. He is a poet and photographer. Splicing imagery of urban and rural environments as a metaphor for the increasingly citified millennials of today, he arranges the naked limbs of his friends in his hide-and-seek photographs.
His work has been largely misinterpreted in the past, often seen as “a staged display of the modern Chinese subcultures and youths on the margins of society”, as one critic wrote.. However, Ren Hang’s intention is on the opposite spectrum and does not offer a criticism of contemporary Chinese society or youth in general, but rather aims to capture men and women in their most natural and authentic state: the nude within nature.
Ren Hang is photographing a generation, which has lived its life after Mao. ‘Human Love’ takes us on a personal journey into the daily life of Ren Hang. It shows us that, we are all human, and amidst our busy day to day life, there is always something beautiful to be captured on camera.
Hang takes nudity and nakedness to another level; exposing the vulnerability and uninhibited sexual nature of a playful and exciting new world. Ren Hang has the uncanny ability to capture voyeurism, loneliness, love, darkness, and self-expression in very special ways.
Ren Hang tells that he started taking pictures of naked bodies when he was a student of marketing in university: “I shot whatever I saw. When I lived in the student dorm, what I saw most was my roomie’s naked body.”
In “Human Love”, the subjects’ expressions are casual yet provocative, hinting at the erotic and playful energies between Ren Hang and his intimate circle of companions. The young artist offers no concept behind his images, leaving them open to infinite interpretations. He only emphasizes a deep engagement with humanity’s relationship with nature, expressed through the freedom of the nude intertwined with the natural environment.
Naked Chinese in Stockholm, written by Tor Kjolberg