Photographer Ren Hang's sudden death on February 24 came as a surprise to the art community, leaving behind him a body of important, provocative work that celebrated human sexuality despite being repeatedly censored by the Chinese government. The visionary long struggled with depression and spoke openly about his mental anguish, before finally taking his life last month.
Related | Meet Ren Hang: An Avid Chronicler of Erections & Other Earthly Delights
Fellow Chinese artist Ai Weiwei talked with TIMEthis week about the importance of Hang's work within an oppressive system: "[Ren Hang's] works interpreted sex in a Chinese way, which contained a sense of loss and sorrow," Weiwei said. "In Chinese literature or poetry, sex is about something which is impossible. It's very different from the West. It's sexier."
Hang's elegantly erotic work is documented in a monograph, Ren Hang (Taschen, $49.99), which chronicles the 29-year-old Beijing artist's entire career and includes never-before-seen photos. Purchase a copy, here.