Internationally renowned Chinese photographer and poet Ren Hang (1987-2017) is the subject for the inaugural Spotlight exhibition, the first major presentation of the artist’s work in China since his death.
A new initiative for 2017, Spotlight will annually highlight an artist of particular relevance and importance to the contemporary photography space and market at the time of the fair. No artist is currently more deserving of this recognition than the late Chinese photographer Ren Hang.
Equally celebrated and censored throughout his short career, Ren Hang is widely regarded as one of the key influencers and leaders of the new generation of contemporary Chinese photography. The artist died in February 2017 aged 29, leaving behind an extraordinary body of work primarily focused on abstraction within the human body.
In collaboration with Beijing’s KWM artcenter, PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai will present 19 Photographs, an exhibition featuring 19 images from Ren Hang’s last exhibition before his death, Beauty without Beards. Originally shown at the KWM artcenter in February 2017, all the images within the exhibition were the last to have been authenticated by the artist and following the artist’s death, they will never be printed again. They are on show in an international forum in China for the first time since Hang’s passing.
Since his death, a reassessment of Hang’s work has begun, avoiding the sexual-political framework within which the artist was often contextualized during his life. Through research of Hang’s interviews and a closer inspection of his life, 19 Photographs has been curated to encourage the viewer to consider new readings of the work focusing on its aesthetic qualities and historical context.
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