Michael Wolf (born 1954) German Artist
“The focus of the German photographer Michael Wolf’s work is life in mega cities. Many of his projects document the architecture and the vernacular culture of metropolises.” He began his career as photojournalist, then his meeting with China made him change direction.
Series about Hong Kong are really breathtakingly high. As I look the pictures, I know it is buildings but I can let my mind slipping into others thoughts. What is it? Can people live into that mound of concrete? His work deals about what is real, what is fake, can we consider this package of windows putted together as life?
Difficult to speak about Wolf without introduce the work of Stéphane Couturier, and put together both author series: Architecture of Density (Wolf) and Monuments & Melting Point (Couturier).
About his work
In his best known series on hong kong’s highly compressed, often brutal architecture, architecture of density, wolf uses the city’s sky-scraping tower blocks to great effect, eliminating the sky and horizon line to flatten each image and turn these façades into seemingly never-ending abstractions. Beyond the stark beauty of these compositions, wolf’s studies of the thick concrete skin of the city make us wonder about the thousands of lives contained within each frame. Although hong kong is all but deserted in these images, minute signs of life creep to its surface… a shirt hanging out to dry or a silhouette behind a blind. Despite the stifling compression of this architecture, wolf’s compositions are laced with evidence of people’s ability and need to express their individuality within these formal structures.
The formalism and deadpan approach of architecture of density echoes the work that emerged from the dusseldorf school of bernd and Hilla Becher. Like the work of Andreas Gursky or Thomas Struth, wolf’s photographs reveal a desire to document and connect with the world around him, but with a contemporary visual approach. This work on the architecture of hong kong can also be linked to the new photographic approaches that emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s in the united states. The landmark 1975 exhibition, new topographics: photographs of a man-altered landscape brought together a group of photographers who, in the sprawling post-industrial landscapes of the new american west, found a mirror for the transformation of the structure of american society.