Kirill Serebrennikov
Outside © Ira Polyarnaya
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“Life is a lie. Truth is a lie. When I take a picture, I'm naked...” Ren Hang

Outside. Bodies. Mischievous, distant, disinhibited, nonchalant. Naked. Windows open on the roofs of the city. Chinese artist Ren Hang photographed both cityscapes and nature, unclothing bodies like so many stylised, dreamlike landscapes. With tenderness, humour, or detachment, he exalted the grace of Chinese youths, rebellious, beautiful, and free. His poems, darker, are suffused with sex and loneliness, love and death. A life pulverised, persecuted, fragile, and melancholic. A much too short existence, which moved director Kirill Serebrennikov deeply. Two artists whose personal histories and works echo each other. Banned and attacked, they nonetheless managed to create their own art, free to explore themes of identity, sexuality, and of the place of the individual in his or her environment. Art as provocation, as a disturbing wake-up call. Raw, poetic, and insolent, it attacks conventional morality and totalitarianism. A necessary weapon in the fight to regain one's freedom of expression...

A self-taught poet and photographer, Ren Hang was born in China in 1987 and lived in Beijing. Often banned, his subtle compositions feature bodies set against urban or natural backgrounds with a mix of eroticism, distance, and humour. His poetic images are known throughout the world for their great sense of freedom. Ren Hang committed suicide in 2017.

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