By Daphné Anglès
March 5, 2019
Mr. Ren’s career was meteoric, and tragically brief. He took his own life in 2017 at age 29, leaving behind a body of work that is highly personal: There is no mistaking a Ren Hang photograph.
A retrospective of Mr. Ren’s work is on show in at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris through May 26. It is one of the first shows curated by the museum’s new director, Simon Baker, who was formerly the curator of photography at the Tate galleries in Britain.
This image is amazing, yet such a simple idea. The beautiful blue sky is probably just the patch of white wall in his apartment, flared with the flash. And it was almost certainly shot on the minimum-possible-sized double bed: in a tiny room, in a tiny apartment with no light. This is the mark of a truly amazing artist, when you can transform the everydayinto something very beautiful. It is alchemy.
It is easy to project on Ren Hang that he was a sort of freedom fighter, but his work is more about personal freedom, like Surrealism, where you find freedom by going inside and not conforming, rather than protesting in a militant way.