Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Michael Wolf


































In a diverse array of photographic projects Michael Wolf explores the complex cultural identities of China and Hong Kong, where he has lived since 1995. Wolf delves into subjects such as the formal and improvisational aesthetics of Hong Kong's architectural forms, the often-overlooked human presence at the heart of international industry, and the idiosyncratic ways city-dwellers shape their surroundings in an "organic metropolis." Throughout these interrelated series Wolf draws into question notions of public and private space, anonymity and individuality, history and modern development. Attuned to the cultural and economic undercurrents of his adopted home, Wolf remains humanely attentive to the personal details as well. Kenneth Baker, critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, has written of the "formal intelligence and acuity of observation" evident in Wolf's photographs, and while Wolf is meticulously and consistently observant, his photographs reflect a manner of working that is intuitive and fluid: from series to series Wolf assumes a range of viewpoints, intimate in some cases and removed in others, and alternates between approaches that are rigorously formal and playfully lyrical.

Wolf's photographs have been exhibited in Asia, Europe and the United States, and are included in the permanent collections of prominent institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Brooklyn Museum, NY; The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; and The Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany. The Transparent City was shown at The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago in 2008 and at Aperture Gallery, New York from 2009 - 2010, and Wolf's large-scale installation, "The Real Toy Story", was on view at the 2008 Shanghai Biennale. Wolf was the first prize recipient of the 2010 World Press Photo Contest, Daily Life category. Wolf's monographs include The Transparent City (Aperture and MoCP, 2008), Hong Kong: Front Door/Back Door, (Thames & Hudson, 2005), Sitting in China (Steidl, 2002), and Hong Kong Inside Outside (Peperoni Books, 2009).



Lara said...

What a great collection!
I've always found images like this horrifying for some reason. Maybe the thought of being so close to so many people where you can't control all the noise, the smells, the filth, the pests... omg.

SabinePsynopsis said...

Dense indeed. Just looking at the images makes me fell slightly faint... Great photography and topic!

♥Aubrey said... fear of heights just caught up with me & i'm sitting on the couch! ;)

Claire Kiefer said...

Goodness, it's amazing to take in buildings that enormous. So many windows. Crazy to think of all the individual people in there going about their lives. I love all the symmetry, though. Looks so mathematical.

Dancing Branflake said...

That is crazy. Seriously. He has taken urban art to a whole new level.

PS... I'm performing in an art museum next month. So with you could be there.

Lorena said...

DUDE I just got claustrophobia and i am not claustrophobic !

Tia said...

That's intense.

Marisa A. said...

I think I got a touch of acrophobia looking at those pictures. I could never live in one of those high rises. Yikes!

Karena said...

Amazing photography, the idea of so much humanity squeezed together is disturbing though!

Art by Karena

Trissta said...

Oh I'm in love. Architecture is already my love, but seriously?! This is beyond amazing to me. Those bamboo scaffolding structures?! Sigggggh. Love. Oh to study the art of shelters. If I could make it my life, I would. Definitely my favorite artwork.

Much Love,

mermaid gallery said...

i had a panic attack just looking at them...but what a comment on the Asian world.....over population is the biggest problem in the world....well documented here.....

Carey Brown Strombotne said...

love the art, but so grateful for my little slice of earth!

itsCatherine said...

thank you for sharing! i really liked this... the aesthetic and truth is rich.

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

I love the symmetry!

It's been a while since I stopped by, but just had today amazing header!!!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Caroline said...

So intense! I could never imagine living in a space like that...makes me grateful for fresh air! Amazing photos for sure!

tulpen said...

ouch. says my eyes!!!

Am I allowed to feel bad for the people living in those buildings?

Kathryn said...

Amazing photos. They really capture the essence of living in an over-crowed and over-populated world.

Apartment living can be hell when the walls and floors are thin and you can hear every time someone walks across the floor or flushes the toilet.

Alisa said...


ana b. said...

Gahhh. It's like one of those Magic Eye books from the nineties. Pretty soon I'll be seeing 3D love hearts and hands popping out of these pictures.

chloe said...

oh my god, i thought "magic eye picture" a couple of times too! fascinating photos, they make my brain hurt when i think of all the people and their stories/lives crammed in there! i agree with what everyone else said above: claustrophobia, feeling faint, powerless, insignificant.. wow..

Kitty Stampede said...

Woah, did I ever just get super wooooozy.

super awesome. would DESPISE living in one of those bastad's though.

Jill said...

Reminds me of The Matrix