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Cinga Samson: ‘a different conversation on representation’ Ocula Conversation Cinga Samson: ‘a different conversation on representation’ Jareh Das

Cinga Samson 's paintings lay bare the complex relationship between contemporary life, African traditions, globalisation, and representation. His strikingly sombre portraits contain similarities to those of contemporary painters such as Toyin Ojih Odutola, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye , Kehinde Wiley , Florine Démosthène, and Tunji...

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Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements Ocula Report Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements Radha Mahendru, Dhaka

Seismic Movements , the fifth Dhaka Art Summit, plotted movements, solidarities, and exchanges across the Global South with over 500 artists, scholars, curators, and thinkers.

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Guo Hongwei on Seeing Patterns That Don’t Exist Ocula Insight Guo Hongwei on Seeing Patterns That Don’t Exist Sherry Paik, New York

Guo Hongwei's recent watercolour paintings, showing at Chambers Fine Art in New York from 3 March, trigger pareidolia—the phenomenon of seeing random objects or patterns where they do not exist.

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HomePage Artists

(1954 - 2019), Germany

Michael Wolf Biography

Michael Wolf was a contemporary German-born fine art photographer venerated for his skill in exposing the raw nuances of living in a metropolis and the effects of urbanisation. His work observes complex urban societies by capturing the city's architecture and people, drawing on the conflicts of public versus private space, historical versus modern architecture, and the individual versus the collective in urban living.

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Born in Munich and raised in Canada, Wolf studied in the United States and Europe, attending the University of California, Berkley before returning to Germany to study under Otto Steinert—the founder of the subjective photography movement—at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. Subjective Photography examined the subconscious and human condition rather than representing the seen world; this influenced Wolf, who was interested in exploring the complexities of contemporary urban life. He developed a successful career as an independent photojournalist in Germany and in 1994 moved to Hong Kong to work for the German magazine Stern.

In Hong Kong Wolf's photography practice switched from photojournalism to fine art photography. His iconic observations of the city represented indefinite rows of enormous concrete high-rise buildings as formal abstract forms and patterns. The flattened structures, void of sky, a horizon line, and human existence, took on the spatial perspective and experience of what it might mean to be a Hong Kong inhabitant surrounded by and living in masses of concrete and steel. As a contrast to the lifeless towers the artist also created artworks that examined human life within the bustling city, exploring and exposing the intricate backstreets and alleys, and the people who live in them. From 2008 to his death in 2019 he lived between Hong Kong and Paris. It was Paris, where he was grappling with the city's architectural impenetrability, that led him to explore and utilise the vast image library of Google Street View to zoom into minute details of everyday inhabitants wandering urban streets, raising questions on surveillance and anonymity.

Publishing photobooks became an important part of Wolf's practice as an archive of his expansive repository of observations. Titles include 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).

Wolf has exhibited at prestigious institutions such as the International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale; Museokeskus Vapriikki; Foam Fotographiemuseum Amsterdam; The Hague Museum of Photography; Aperture Gallery, New York; Museum for Work, Hamburg; Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Shenzhen; and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. His artwork is held in many prominent collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Brooklyn Museum; Cleveland Museum of Art; San José Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Museum, Kansas City. He won first prize in the World Press Photo Contest in 2005 and 2010, and was given an honourable mention in 2011. In 2010 and 2016 he was shortlisted for the prestigious global Prix Pictet award in photography and sustainability.

Ocula | 2019

Michael Wolf Featured Artworks

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Tokyo Compression #176 by Michael Wolf contemporary artwork
Michael WolfTokyo Compression #176, 2010Archival pigment print on Hahnemuehle art rag paper
50.8 x 40.6 cm
Christophe Guye Galerie Enquire about this work
Tokyo Compression #156 by Michael Wolf contemporary artwork
Michael WolfTokyo Compression #156, 2010Archival pigment print on Hahnemuehle art rag paper
50.8 x 40.6 cm
Christophe Guye Galerie Enquire about this work
Paris Street View #16 by Michael Wolf contemporary artwork
Michael WolfParis Street View #16, 2009Archival pigment print
34 x 27 inches
Bruce Silverstein Enquire about this work
Transparent City #12 by Michael Wolf contemporary artwork
Michael WolfTransparent City #12, 2007Archival pigment print
70 x 90 inches
Bruce Silverstein Enquire about this work
Paris Rooftop #17 by Michael Wolf contemporary artwork
Michael WolfParis Rooftop #17, 2014Archival pigment print
48 x 64 inches
Bruce Silverstein Enquire about this work
Architecture of Density #20 by Michael Wolf contemporary artwork
Michael WolfArchitecture of Density #20, 2005Archival pigment print
40 x 58 inches
Bruce Silverstein Enquire about this work
Transparent City #01 by Michael Wolf contemporary artwork
Michael WolfTransparent City #01, 2007C-print
121.9 x 152.4 cm
Christophe Guye Galerie Enquire about this work
#08B, Architecture of Density by Michael Wolf contemporary artwork
Michael Wolf#08B, Architecture of Density, 2006Lambda print on Kodak Endura Paper, printed 2007
69 x 86 cm
Sold
Gallery Fifty One

Michael Wolf Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Michael Wolf, METROPOLIS at Bruce Silverstein, New York
Closed
24 October–21 December 2019 Michael Wolf METROPOLIS Bruce Silverstein, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, André Kertész, Michael Wolf, Rooftops at Gallery Fifty One Too, Antwerp
Closed
10 September–26 October 2019 André Kertész, Michael Wolf Rooftops Gallery Fifty One Too
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Showroom at Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich
Closed
29 August–23 November 2019 Group Exhibition Showroom Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich

Michael Wolf Represented By

Michael Wolf In Ocula Magazine

The Art You Missed During Art Basel in Hong Kong Ocula Report The Art You Missed During Art Basel in Hong Kong Sam Gaskin, Hong Kong

One local gallery manager described it as constipation: Hong Kong holds in its art activities all year before forcing everything out in the week that Art Basel comes to town. The fair alone is like a system of intestines: unraveled, the paths visitors have to walk to see all the works would stretch for kilometers. There is also a huge amount of...

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Michael Wolf In Related Press

Critics' Picks: Michael Wolf Related Press Critics' Picks: Michael Wolf 7 December 2019, Artforum

Michael Wolf 's solo exhibition here—the first since his death this past April—is a sampling from this prolific photographer's oeuvre. Wolf, who was born in Germany but spent much of his life in China, inflected his pictures with the grandness of nineteenth-century

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Life in the Metropolis Related Press Life in the Metropolis 25 November 2019, Aesthetica

Michael Wolf (1954-2019) was a chronicler of life in cities. Across a career of over 40 years, the photographer captured architecture from Paris to Hong Kong, recording the realities of metropolitan life in the 21st century.

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Michael Wolf obituary Related Press Michael Wolf obituary 2 May 2019, The Guardian

After moving on from a successful career in photojournalism in 2003 to pursue his personal work, the photographer Michael Wolf, who has died unexpectedly aged 64, devoted himself to exploring the complex nature of life in some of the world's largest cities. Michael was best known for his series Architecture of Density (2003-14), which focused on...

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Michael Wolf: Roulette with the Real Related Press Michael Wolf: Roulette with the Real 30 July 2018, Elephant

'I see myself as an anthropologist,' Michael Wolf tells me as he guides me around his show, Informal Arrangements (27 November 2015–9 January 2016), at Flowers Gallery in London's East End. The densely gridded façades of Hong Kong's high-rises dominate one wall but elsewhere the material on display has a more improvised, intimate air. As a...

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