Ren Hang’s provocative photographs feature in Shanghai Photofairs’ new Spotlight section

Images by late photographer were last works to be authenticated by artist before his death


Works by the late photographer Ren Hang are due to go on show at the Photofairs photography fair in Shanghai this autumn (7-10 September, Shanghai Exhibition Centre) in a show billed as the first major exhibition of the artist’s work since his death in February. All 19 works, previously seen at the KWM Art Center in Beijing in the exhibition Beauty without Beards, will feature in the new fair section called Spotlight which explores the critical and commercial standing of key contemporary photographers.

“Originally shown at the KWM Art Center 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,” says a statement from Photofairs.

Ren Hang, Untitled (2015). (© Ren Hang. Courtesy of KWM Art Center Beijing)

Ren had long struggled with depression, and challenged China’s taboo surrounding mental illness with his openness; he maintained a public blog documenting “My Depression” from June 2007 until last September. In 2013 he published a book by the same title, and presented his struggle in numerous poems. His brief but meteoric career spanned 85 group shows, including Paris Photo in Paris, Brussels and Los Angeles, as well as Fuck Off 2 at Holland’s Groninger Museum in 2013. He published 16 books of photography and a volume of poetry.

Photofairs is managed by the World Photography Organisation,  a subsidiary of the London-based fairs organiser, Montgomery Group, The fourth edition in Shanghai includes several new sections and features. “For the first time, a special exhibition will offer a curated insight into the private acquisitions of powerful art collectors David Chau (Cc Foundation), Adrian Cheng (K11 Art Foundation), Thomas Shao (Modern Media Group), and Jenny Wang (Fosun Foundation),” says a statement. The related exhibition will include works by Yang Fudong and Wolfgang Tillmans. A parallel Photofairs sister fair runs in San Francisco (26-28 January 2018).