Portrait of Ren Hang taken one week before his death.
Photo: Knut Koivisto/Fotografiska
TASCHEN is devastated by the death of Chinese photographer Ren Hang, whose first monograph we have just published. Hang’s startling, beautiful, gender-fluid compositions won rapid international fame, gaining millions of fans on Social Media, and over 20 solo shows across Asia, Europe, and the United States, including Human Love, which opened at Fotografiska, Stockholm on February 17.
Despite censorship in his homeland, Ren maintained that his work was not political, saying in 2013: “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.” Ren had written extensively about his struggles with depression.
Editor Dian Hanson, says: “I had always wanted a book that explores sexuality in China for years, and Ren Hang exceeded all my hopes. His photos of young friends, male and female, open a fascinating window on sexual freedom in an otherwise conservative society. Ren fell into a crushing depression last October, intensified by global political instability. The months of pain finally proved too much.”