Ren Hang’s photos play upon our sense of touch and the way that our bodies interact, both with our surroundings and each other.
He often photographed his friends in Beijing, posed nude in domestic, urban and natural surroundings. His images are charged with a playful freedom to experiment. The fearlessness with which people present their naked selves in his images attracted the attention of Chinese authorities, who deemed the work to be pornographic.
As well as practising photography, Ren wrote poetry that sought to express the depression he felt, whilst also locating fleeting snapshots of same-sex intimacy. The exhibition title, Wake Up Together, is an excerpt from the body of work he produced throughout his lifetime. He took his own life in February 2017.
The exhibition of Ren Hang’s work has been organised with Stieglitz19, Belgium.
In 72 countries around the world, there are laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people. In many more countries, violence and prejudice against people who identify as LGBTQI+ is an all too present feature of society. Where Love Is Illegal shares stories from people who are surviving punishment and oppression to live and to love. It champions the right to live free of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and supports those for whom this freedom is not a given. Where Love Is Illegal is led by photographer Robin Hammond and is a project by his non-profit organisation Witness Change.