Ren Hang

The image above (shown cropped), is by Chinese photographer, Ren Hang. We are thrilled to include an extensive essay of his images in Issue One. To enjoy the complete printed sequence of images you will have to purchase the magazine, which you can do here.


Ren Hang was born in Jilin province, Chang Chun city, China. He works and lives in Beijing, and his photography has been exhibited and published extensively in books and magazines in China and abroad. In 2010 Ren was awarded The Third Annual Terna Prize for Contemporary Art. Last year Ren was invited by artist Ai Weiwei to exhibit as part of ‘Fuck Off’, in the Netherlands, showcasing the new wave of the 21st century Chinese art scene.

His work is carefully staged although alludes to spontaneity and the snap shot. These exploitative and intimate photographs explore the sexuality and fetishism of China’s modern contemporary youth subculture. However, his deliberately provocative work, which challenges conventional codes of morality in a still highly conservative society, has also been banned from a number of galleries in China. One of his shows has been cancelled by the Chinese government on ‘suspicion of sex’ and, another time, a visitor spat at one of his photos.

Despite these challenges Ren carries on working with naked bodies and, at times, producing sexually explicit images. For Ren, he feels ‘the real existence of people through their naked bodies’.

His photographs are not your average nude photographs though – surreal, raw and gnarly, and also often humorous too – they are undeniably confident statements. Ren’s reluctance to work with professional models stems from his struggle to relax when working with strangers. It it is why he almost always shoots his friends. It is a clear to see from his honest imagery that there is a mutual trust between photographer and models, and it is this in particular that makes them so appealing to us here at The Quite Delightful Project.

Ren is determined to carry on working in his own country, as well as exhibiting abroad, and has said that the more that he is restricted in his own country, the more he wants his country to take him in and accept him for what he does.

Ren has self-published six photographic monographs.

Visit Ren’s Tumblr here and his website here.

12th September 2014 | Katherine Jane

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