Michael Wolf has lived and worked in Hong Kong since 1994. Stimulated by the region's complex urban dynamics, he makes dizzying photographs of its architecture.
One of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world, Hong Kong has an overall density of nearly 6,700 people per square kilometer. The majority of its citizens live in apartments in high-rise buildings. In his series Architecture of Density, Wolf investigates these vibrant city blocks, finding a mesmerizing abstraction in the buildings' facades.
Some of the structures in the series are photographed without reference to the context of sky or ground, and many buildings are seen in a state of repair or construction: their walls covered with a grid of scaffolding or the soft colored curtains that protect the streets below from falling debris. From a distance, such elements become a part of the photograph's intricate design.
Wolf explores the theme of the organic metropolis - that which develops according to the caprice of its citizens as much as the planning of its architects. In Architecture of Density, his vision has evolved to evaluate the high-rises that shape the spatial experience of Hong Kong's citizens. Wolf finds in each building a singular character, despite its functional purpose and massive form.
Michael Wolf (born in Munich, 1954) grew up in the United States and Germany, and studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and with Otto Steinert at the University of Essen in Germany. Two previous books—Sitting in China(2002) and Hong Kong: Front Door/Back Door (2005)—feature his much-acclaimed photographs of China. His work has been widely collected and exhibited internationally, including at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago; Cleveland Museum of Art; Museum Centre Vapriikki, Tampere, Finland; Kestner Museum, Hannover, Germany; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; and the Daegu Photo Biennial, Korea. Wolf’s work is held in major collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Microsoft Art Collection; and the Neuberger Berman Art Collection. He divides his time between Europe and Asia.