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Ren Hang Untitled
Untitled, Ren Hang, 2016.Courtesy of Stieglitz19, Belgium.

The first Ren Hang exhibition in the UK has opened

The late photographer and poet’s work continues to shock and awe

Despite Ren Hang’s global notoriety and adoration, the late photographer and poet had yet to have an exhibition dedicated to his works in the UK. While one of his images appeared in a group show in 2015, today, Liverpool independent and not-for-profit Open Eye Gallery launches Wake up Together – a show displaying a series of his photographs.

The Chinese photographer was repeatedly censored during his life in his home country of China but unanimously celebrated abroad. While he tragically took his own life in February 2017 a the age of 29, the striking body of work he left behind is an enduring reminder of his vitality. Most often capturing bodies nude and in nature, Hang began photographing his friends with a point-and-shoot camera when he was 17. Bored of studying advertising, he craved a form of expression that was satiated through the lens and poetry.

Unphased by the controversy that his work elicited, speaking with The New York Times, Hang said, “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.”

Wake up Together runs at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery alongside Robin Hammond’s Where Love Is Illegal, until 17 February, and is being shown as part of Homotopia Festival 2018, a programme which champions LGBTQI+ rights.