Bruce Silverstein Gallery is proud to present an exhibition dedicated to celebrating Michael Wolf’s life and prolific photographic legacy.
Over his forty plus year career, Wolf intimately explored architecture from Paris to Hong Kong. He examined not only building facades as art objects themselves, but also the lives within these buildings. Bodies of work such as Architecture of Density, Transparent City, Tokyo Compression, and Paris Rooftops are all explorations of the realities of 21st century metropolitan life and the constant etching away of privacy.
For Wolf, photographing was also an act of preservation. Making images was a way to remember, not only physical structures, but also ways of life and social constructs that bind humans together. Structures built in the closest of proximities do not necessarily translate into close neighbors, and Wolf’s work poetically captured the tensions within these physical and mental boundaries. Shot with a large-format camera, Wolf exposed private moments among the multiplexes, and reminded us that isolation can be the key characteristic of city living.
Born in 1954 in Munich, Wolf grew up in the United States, Europe, and Canada, and studied at the University of California, Berkeley and at the University of Essen in Germany. He moved to China in 1995 to study China’s cultural identity and the complexities of its urban architecture. He won first prize in the World Press Photo Award Competition in 2005 and 2010, and was granted an honorable mention in 2011. In 2010 and again in 2016, Wolf was shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet.
Wolf’s work was most recently the subject of a major museum retrospective, Life in Cities, which traveled from Les Recontres d’Arles in France to Holland to Italy, and lastly to Germany. He also exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Goethe Institute, Hong Kong; Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Museum Center Vapriikki, Tempere, Finland; Aperture Gallery, New York and the Venice Biennale of Architecture among others.
His work is held in many permanent collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany; the Brooklyn Museum; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.
Wolf published numerous monographs including most recently, Michael Wolf Works (2017), Tokyo Compression Revisited (2011), Real Fake Art (2011), Tokyo Compression (2010), Hong Kong: Inside/Outside (2009), The Transparent City (2008), Hong Kong: Front Door/Back Door, (2005), and Sitting in China (2002).