"When I first came to Hong Kong, I was slightly amused and on occasion turned off by the wild color schemes used to paint many of the buildings. I was vaguely reminded of cartoons: pink, red, yellow, green, orange, as if to camouflage the true nature of what was going on inside." —Michael Wolf

Aperture is pleased to offer this very special limited-edition photograph from Architecture of Density, one of the artist's best-known earlier series.

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 Architecture of Density, Wolf investigates these vibrant city blocks, finding a mesmerizing abstraction in the buildings' facades. Here Wolf examines residential housing complexes which are tightly packed together to accommodate the population—nearly seven million people living on 426 square miles.

Photographed from opposing buildings with direct vantage points, he removes all reference to sky and horizon line, flattening the space until it becomes, in the words of curator Natasha Egan, "a relentless abstraction of urban expansion, with no escape for the viewer's eye."

Wolf juxtaposes the work in Architecture of Density with that of his series 100 x 100—to explore Hong Kong from the inside as well as the outside, the living spaces of the people who in this dense metropolis and the buildings that house them. The work was published in a two-volume slipcased set Michael Wolf: Hong Kong Inside Outside (2009).

Michael Wolf (born in Munich, 1954) grew up in the United States and studied at UC Berkeley and with Otto Steinert at the University of Essen in Germany. His books include Sitting in China (2002), Hong Kong, Front Door/Back Door (2005), and The Transparent City (Museum of Contemporary Photography/Aperture, 2008). Wolf lives and works in Hong Kong and Paris.


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