The Transparent City
Gallery FIFTY ONE
Fifty One Fine Art Photography is pleased to present Michael Wolf’s new solo exhibition, The Transparent City.
In 2005, when Michael Wolf visited Chicago for the first time during his trainride from the airport, he noticed almost immediately the experimental and unique buildings of many different styles. This would be his inspiration for the series The Transparent City. As artist-in-residence for the high-powered commercial real estate firm in Chicago, he was given access to numerous rooftops, where he set up his camera and long lens to capture images of humanity stacked in architectural rows and columns.
Michael Wolf’s photography is that of an outsider. Born in Germany, raised in the United States and Canada, returning to Germany to study photography before spending the vast majority of his career in Asia, his unusual background has allowed him to make the ‘other’ his home. Wolf began his career as a photojournalist, spending over a decade working in Asia for the German magazine Stern. His willingness to explore different visual approaches, even abandoning the camera altogether to work with emerging image technology such as Google Street View, shows his ability to constantly renew and enrich his visual language.
From the architecture of Hong Kong’s tower blocks to the relentless compression of the Tokyo subway, from issues of privacy and voyeurism in the urban environment to the phenomenon of mass production within the increasingly globalized world of modern art, each of his series reveals a new facet of life in the city, assembling a complex, nuanced view that raises as many questions as it provides answers.
Although he is constantly exploring new subjects and visual approaches, Michael Wolf’s central theme has always remained the same, from his first series in a German mining village to his most recent work in Asia … people, and the reality of their lives in our ever-changing cities.
Michael Wolf won first prize in the World Press Photo competition in 2005 and 2010, and received an honourable mention in 2011. In 2010 and 2016 he was nominated for the Prix Pictet photography award.
Born in Munich, Germany in 1954
Died in Hong Kong in 2019