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An American Photographer in Hong Kong, Part 3: The Back Door Series

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Part 1 of Michael Wolf’s photography from Hong Kong presented images from the artist’s “Real Fake Art” series; it also contained a biography of Wolf.  Please view Part 1 by clicking here.  Part 2 presented images from the artist’s “Architecture of Density” series; please view Part 2 by clicking here.

Part 3 consists of five scenes Wolf photographed from the back doors of Hong Kong residents.  In its introduction to the 22 photographs in its collection, artnet’s Artist Works Catalogues writes: ‘In this series Wolf explores the idiosyncratic ways that Hong Kong’s residents adapt to their environment and improvise within their urban locale. The Back Door was featured in Wolf’s 2004 monograph, along with the Architecture of Density series.’ 

Recently, a friend looked at these images and volunteered to give her impressions of them.  Her comments follow immediately – in double quotation marks – as well as after each of the five pictures: 

“In all…these images, the human spirit seems reflected in some minor, uncontrolled, untidy detail.  In the midst of greys, Wolf captures muted color that suggests a dormant, hidden potential, just below the surface at odds with concrete and steel but (with) hopes of untamed, undreamt futures.”

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[[BD232003]]

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“Pastel and grey monoliths stand in muted contrast to the wind swept, unkempt groundcover.  A single plastic throne stands like a lonely outpost for watching the encroaching concrete and steel kingdom.  The variations of greens and browns seem to leave the question open regarding the winner: the unruly living or the sterile artificial construct.”

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And

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[[BD242003]]

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“Green wilting chards, strung across wire like the girded grey lines on the towers in the background.  While indistinct, on the ground, is there a blue green figure lounging, napping?”

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And

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[[BD132003]]

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“The human touch, unmistakable with its pink blossoms, wisteria, or grapes, and green leaves….but strung again across a string or wire and secured with grey-blue clips reflective of the towers peeking over the top.”

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And

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[[BD192003]]

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“Here a potted dumb cane, twisted during its earlier years by limited light, is thrusting upright – green against the greys.  Its scaled stem is reminiscent of expansion pipe but it still contains life.  Flanked by pink cable, and the pale pink of petals dangling from pipes, these encourage the hope that human impact will soften the harsh, artificial surfaces.”

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And

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[[BD202003]]

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“The tiles repeat the same pastels of the earlier towers: pinks, blues, greens, beiges, greys, and white.  The alley is empty save for a plastic, throw-away garment cover, clipped to the wire, dancing uncontrolled in the breeze.”

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(The words in single quotation marks and the images are courtesy of artnet and its Artist Works Catalogues.  At its AWC, there is this: “artnet offers these catalogues free to the public as an educational resource. Simply click on an individual artist's image to begin, and check back often to browse new catalogues.”)  

 

I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
 
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This looks like more than 100 cm or inches wide, b... by Bob Stuart on Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 11:14:54 PM
I really like Back Door #13.  It looks to me ... by Mikhail Lyubansky on Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 2:56:51 PM
with plenty of workers, but where is the queen? M... by Allan Wayne on Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 6:27:29 PM
Those are excellent pix. I particularly like the o... by John Little on Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 8:16:57 PM
Orientals do not seem to mind being stacked. I thi... by Theresa Paulfranz on Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 8:00:10 AM