For the first time ever, working in close collaboration with the Hague Museum of Photography, the Rencontres d’Arles is presenting a selective overview of the autonomous works created by Wolf. Wolf’s key 21st-century theme is “life in cities”, as he observes it in vast metropolises like Tokyo, Hong Kong and Chicago. The striking feature of these impressive series is the changing points of view adopted by the artist in order to show the complexity of modern city life. The magnum opus of the exhibition is The Real Toy Story installation (2004), featuring over 20,000 plastic “Made in China” toys found by him in junk markets and second-hand shops in the United States. Amid this overwhelming array of mass-produced stuff for kids, Michael Wolf shows sympathetic portraits of individual Chinese assembly-belt workers producing toys to satisfy the manic worldwide demand for cheap consumer goods.
Wim Van Sinderen