Made in China
Gallery FIFTY ONE
In 2003, Michael Wolf started his project “Architecture of Density” for which he explored the architecture of Hong Kong. The result is a series of large- scaled close-ups of the dense mass of skyscrapers. At first sight, the vertical and horizontal grids of the immense industrial and residential buildings appear like complex and abstract patterns. But when having a second look, you can take a glimpse at the life behind the large walls of Chinese architecture. This creates the feeling of balancing on the edge between anonymity and privacy, alluding at the same time to the economic and cultural undercurrents in the region.
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