Michael Wolf examines life in the layered urban landscape, addressing juxtapositions of public and private space, anonymity and individuality, history and modern development. In a diverse array of photographic projects, from street views appropriated from Google Earth, to portraits capturing the crush of the Tokyo Subway, and dizzying architectural landscapes, Wolf explores the density of city life.
The Robert Koch Gallery was the first gallery to represent Michael Wolf, and did so exclusively for many years, presenting Wolf’s first exhibition of his breakthrough project Architecture of Density in 2005 and later the first gallery exhibition of Transparent City in 2008. Our gallery is honored to have mounted twelve exhibitions of Michael Wolf’s work.
Born in Munich, Germany in 1954, Michael Wolf was raised in Berkeley, California. He studied at UC Berkeley before earning a degree from the University of Essen in Germany as a student of Otto Steinert. His photographs are in the permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Brooklyn Museum; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City; the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago among others. His work was included in the Hong Kong Pavilion at the 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture and has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Deutsches Architektur Museum, Frankfurt; Museum der Arbeit, Hamburg; Bauhaus Museum, Dessau, Germany; Palazzo Reale, Milan; and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, among others. In 2010 Wolf was shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet award for his Architecture of Density series, and again in 2016 for his Tokyo Compression series. Michael Wolf – Life in Cities, a comprehensive retrospective of Wolf’s work has been traveling throughout Europe since 2017 and has included exhibitions at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg (2018-2019), Fotomuseum Den Haag, The Hague (2018), the Fondazione Stelline in Milan (2018), and Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, France (2017). In 2019 the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop, Germany, opened an exhibition of Wolf’s early work from the Bottrop-Ebel 76 series.
Wolf’s numerous monographs include Cheung Chau Sunrises (Buchkunst Berlin, 2019), Works (Peperoni Books, 2016), Hong Kong Assemblage Deconstructed (Peperoni Books, 2016), Hong Kong Umbrella (with Lam Yik Fei, Peperoni Books, 2015), Some More Hong Kong Seating Arrangements (Peperoni Books, 2015), Hong Kong Assemblage Deconstructed (Peperoni Books, 2014), Hong Kong Informal Seating Arrangements (Peperoni Books, 2014), Hong Kong Flora (Peperoni Books, 2014), Hong Kong Trilogy (Peperoni Books, 2014), Small Gods Big City (Hong Kong University Press, 2013), Architecture of Density (Peperoni Books/Asia One, 2012), Tokyo Compression Three (Peperoni Books/Asia One, 2012), Bottrop Ebel 1976 (Peperoni Books 2012), Tokyo Compression Revisited (Peperoni Books/Asia One, 2011), Real Fake Art (Peperoni Books/Asia One, 2011), Portraits (Superlabo, 2011), FY (Peperoni Books, 2011), Hong Kong Corner Houses (Hong Kong University Press, 2011), Tokyo Compression (Peperoni Books/Asia One, 2010), A Series of Unfortunate Events (Peperoni Books, 2010), Hong Kong Inside Outside (Asia One/Peperoni Books, 2009), The Transparent City (Aperture, 2008), and Sitting in China (Steidl, 2002).