Chinese photographer Ren Hang’s bright and crisp pictures in this show are set everywhere from forests and jungles to cityscapes and studios, and almost all feature naked bodies. They draw clear inspiration from his photographer forebears and contemporaries: Guy Bourdain can be seen in his composition of a woman crouched down with her head inside a red suitcase; Bill Brandt’s traces in his landscapes made from lined-up bottoms and torsos; Ryan McGinley in his “Wienerwald” series of bodies hung and balanced in trees. Despite their sometimes uncomfortably close homage, these pictures find their distinction in the fact that they all feature Chinese bodies. A quote from the photographer displayed next to the works explains: “I don’t want others having the impression that Chinese people are robots without cocks and pussies.” Above their aesthetic qualities, it’s the context in which these photographs were created that give them their extra impact, something conveyed in a documentary film in the last room: in a scene where Hang consults with a lawyer on a planned shoot, he says: “When I shoot pictures, I often get reported to the police.”
Love, Ren Hang | C/O Berlin, Charlottenburg. Through Feb 29.