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In Focus: Urban Living’s Big Squeeze

Friday, January 17, 2014

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What does it look like when thousands of people share one square kilometer of living space?

German photographer Michael Wolf can show you—if you can handle heights. And crowds.

If you're up for a dizzying architectural experience, where color, pattern and form seem to go on indefinitely, you’re in luck.

An exhibit of Wolf’s work, Architecture of Density, opens Friday (Jan. 17) at the Flowers Gallery in London.

Architecture of Density
Architecture of Density #39, 2005 / Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Artist Michael Wolf examines Hong Kong—a densely populated and land-mass restricted city—in Architecture of Density.

The artist’s vibrant depictions explore Hong Kong architecture and lifestyle in disorienting fashion. The city is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with an average of 6,620 people per square kilometer in 2012—and 56,200 people (you read that right) per square kilometer in the ultra-packed district of Kwun Tong.

You can check out Wolf's project here.

“Wolf focuses on repetition of pattern and form to cause a visual reaction,” the Flowers Gallery said in an announcement. He crops out the sky and land from the images, making the buildings appear unlimited in size.

“The result is a sense of rediscovery, as Wolf frees you of the constraints of a typical photograph.”

Focus on Mega Cities

The artist focuses on life in mega cities in his work, documenting both architecture and culture, according to his biography.

"If you go to Shanghai or Hong Kong or to any of the big Chinese cities, you have this tremendous density around you," Wolf said in an interview with New Republic.

There are signs of life visible in his photographs. "Up close you see a pair of pants, a t-shirt or a mop hanging out of the window," he said.

Why Hong Kong?

Wolf moved to Hong Kong in 1994 and was consumed by the social and architectural fabric of his surroundings.

“The air is populated with a forest of high rises,” the gallery’s release notes.

Wolf witnessed the city’s rapid vertical expansion (Hong Kong has more completed skyscrapers than any city in the world) and has used this project to explore Hong Kong’s socio-cultural phenomena, the gallery relates.

The Architecture of Density showing in London will close Feb. 22.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Architecture; Artists; Color; Design; Residential Construction

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