- Contemporary Visual Art for Human Rights -

Ding Ren

Posted on January 28 2016

Ding Ren is an artist, writer and teacher living and working between Washington DC and Amsterdam. She attended the George Washington University in United States receiving her Master of Fine Art.
 
 
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Ding Ren is an artist, writer and teacher living and working in Washington DC and Amsterdam. She attended the George Washington University in the United States where she received her Master’s Degree in Fine Art. After teaching at the FotoFactory in Amsterdam, Ding Ren worked as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Photography for University of Maryland. Ren’s involvement in art field is testified by texts and writings published by Artslant Worldwide and others, as well as her lecture series organized by the Stedelijk Museum, University of Amsterdam, de Appel, SMBA, W139, and Metropolis M. With her solo and group exhibitions Ren has shown her artworks in the United States, Netherlands, Germany, China, United Kingdom and other countries worldwide, and various are also the art magazines which published her artworks.
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Ren's photographs are the outcome of personal experiences of her living with three different cultures, the American, Dutch and Chinese cultures enabled her to gather material to express the human condition and, before that, an inner personal state, expressed through the use of analog photography, a mean that according to the author "provides both physical and conceptual stability to an otherwise fast-paced and fleeting world." Further meanings arise looking at Ren's images as a sort of evidence of the connection of human emotions with the immediate environment, as well as documents, traces in the topography that not show us what usually our eyes take in our experiences, but all that is "subtle and nuanced”.
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"The waves would welcome it beneath the sea #1" │ Buy it

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L.A.: Hello Ding, can you tell us something about your first approach to
photography?
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Ding Ren: I took my first black and white photography course 20 years ago
while still in grade school.  Being a pensive and observative person who
responds best to visual and hands-on approaches, I immediately took to the
entire process.  I enjoyed taking walks and trying to find subjects to capture
from a unique vantage and developing the negatives and hand-printing in the
darkroom.
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This is why I continue to photograph with an analog film camera.  I like that I am
unable to see the photograph right away but must wait for it to be processed
and printed -- is more of a slow, precise process.  To me, analog photographs
preserve the tangibility of the medium, whereas digital photography has pushed
it to complete intangibility.
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L.A.: Who were the first artists or photographers that inspired you? Who
inspires you today?
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Ding Ren: Before I knew what it meant to be an artist or photographer, I knew
music first. I do not play an instrument, but I was (and still am) very into
listening to indie and folk music and paying attention to lyrics. I can relate to the
way in which some of my favorite bands and singers work and I think that is
where I get the more intuitive approach towards my own art practice from.   For
example, most of the time I feel like I am making “albums” instead of projects or
pieces, because I like to put together a series of photographs that can capture a
certain feeling or mood rather than a distinct message. Some favorite
musicians are: Little Wings, Mount Eerie/The Microphones, Destroyer, Silver
Jews, Cat Power.
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As for photographers, I am inspired everyday by the people I follow on flickr
from all over the world, there is quite a nice analog film photography community
on flickr actually.  I also can never tire of looking at the work of William
Eggleston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Masao Yamamoto, and Wolfgang Tillmans.
More contemporary photographers that I've been following the personal work of
are McNair Evans, Shane Lynam, and Ye Rin Mok, to name a few.
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"The waves would welcome it beneath the sea #4" │ Buy it

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"I Want to Believe" │ Buy it

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L.A.: How do you choose what or who to photograph, what are you
looking to capture?
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Ding Ren: I am interested in universal symbols and connections that can
transcend cultures, through common everyday observations like the way
laundry is hung out to dry and through the relationship between geography and
mindset. The proper term is “psycho-geography” but that feels too “buzz” wordy
for me so I don’t like to use it, although it does describe my style of photography
and working style as an artist well. It is about a more intuitive approach.
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"Sunken" │ Buy it

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L.A.: Can you take one of your images from those presents at LoosenArt
Gallery and express a personal comment about meanings or concepts?
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Ding Ren: "the waves would welcome it beneath the sea" series is the perfect
demonstration of this geography/topography and mindset connection:
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I traveled to Ireland in search of the sublime feeling of both beauty and fear that
comes with standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking something. I wanted to
investigate geo-cultural patterns and phenomena within the landscape. I wanted
to prove that these coincidental patterns exist and that rocks, no matter where
in the world, form a solid cultural foundation.  I made rubbings of the rocks
along the coast of Nohoval Cove while also photographing the cliffs.  By
chance, the rock rubbings echoed the photographs I took and vise versa.
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L.A.: Hopes or projects for the future?
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Ding Ren: It has been an slow on and off project, but my husband and I are
working on recording some songs, since he is the musically inclined one who
can play all the instruments.  We turn my poetry and other writing into lyrics and
the songs are meant to provide another dimension to my photography.  A lot of
the lyrics are about flickering lights, fading shadows, sunken ships, the
changing scenery on a train ride--all things that I have photographed in one way
or the other.
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"The elegance of an empty room" │ Buy it

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BUY IT NOW View Michal Hustaty on Gallery

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Ding Ren www.dingren.net

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