Ai Weiwei pays respect to sino shutterbug Ren Hang
“The images are fresh, but also empty and superficial. They contain a deep sadness within.”
Ai Weiwei has come out with a sentimental statement on Ren Hang following his tragic death last month – characterizing the late photographer’s work as “poetic” and full of “sadness.” The artist – who, like Hang, had numerous collisions with the Chinese authorities over his politically-charged and provocative work – made the statement to TIME MAG yesterday. “Ren Hang’s works interpreted sex in a Chinese way, which contained a sense of loss and sorrow,” Weiwei said. “In Chinese literature or poetry, sex is about something which is impossible. It’s very different from the West.”
The artist went on to deconstruct Hang’s dramatic aesthetic, which – while celebrated for its sensual beauty and sense of realism – also faced criticism for being banal and somewhat superficial. “Ren Hang represented a new generation of Chinese avant-gardists,” he argued. “Their works reflect the reality of China today. The images are fresh, but also empty and superficial. They contain a deep sadness within.”
Hang passed away last month, after jumping from the 28th floor of a building in Beijing. His suicide, while tragic and sudden, came after years of struggling with clinical depression – an issue he openly addressed on his website. Weiwei added: “He is evidence of this so-called ‘New Photography’ in China, which is poetic and superficial at the same time.” We’ll really, really miss you, Ren Hang!
All images courtesy Ren Hang
VIVISXN – Art + Photography