A figure behind a misted window turns its face away and closes its eyes in an attempt to evade the lens of the photographer. The metro passenger is crushed between fellow-commuters and unable to move when photographer Michael Wolf points his camera at him from the other side of the glass. Over the 2010-2013 period, Wolf returned time and time again to the same metro platform in Tokyo to lie in wait for his passing prey. The result is Tokyo Compression, perhaps Wolf’s most renowned photo-series, in which he explores the subjects of privacy and voyeurism in great detail. In the densely populated world cities where Michael Wolf works, these themes are unavoidable. The Hague Museum of Photography is about to exhibit a major retrospective of Wolf’s work, stretching from his earliest years as a documentary photographer right through to relatively recent series like Architecture of Density (2003 – 2014) and Transparent City (2006).
UNWIRED JACQUELINE HASSINK
What does it feel like to live without telephone and WiFi connections – to be ‘unwired’? The exhibition Unwired confronts us with our smartphone addiction and appeals to our fundamental need for mental rest.
For Unwired, Jacqueline Hassink roamed the world in search of ‘white spots’, where there is no digital connectivity of any kind. She photographed places like the remote primeval forests on the Japanese island of Yakushima, the Svalbard Islands in the Arctic Ocean and the mountains of Iceland, but also visited a ‘digital detox’ spa in Germany, where clients are artificially shielded from the digital world. Contrasting sharply with these tranquil places, Hassink has taken portraits of people glued to their smart- phones in the metro.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a photo book, likewise entitled Unwired. Designed by Irma Boom, the volume will be issued by German publishing house Hatje Cantz. It will feature contributions from Jacqueline Hassink, Frits Gierstberg, Bregtje van der Haak, Rinzai Zen master Yudo Harada and others.
This exhibition received generous support through a unique sponsorship arrangement. The project Unwired Landscapes is made possible by the support of the Mondriaan Fund. The White Spots World Map and the accompanying app were realised with the financial support of the Creative Industries Fund NL and the Dutch Cultural Media Fund.
Photographer Michael Wolf talks about his first retrospective, Life in Cities, at the Eglise des Frères Prêcheurs.