Tokyo Compression Revisited.
Photographs by Michael Wolf.
Peperoni Books, 2011. 112 pp., 75 color illustrations, 8x10".
With 'Tokyo Compression' Michael Wolf struck a nerve. His portraits of people who are on their way in the Tokyo subway, constrained between glass, steel and fellow travelers, have won many awards and were shown in exhibitions around the globe. The first edition of this book was sold out after a few weeks.
And the topic kept haunting Michael Wolf as well. He returned to Tokyo in order to immerse in the subsurface insanity once again and this time even deeper. Now with 'Tokyo Compression Revisited' the second, completely revised edition of the classic is published, with many so far unreleased images and an entirely new 'hidden track' at the end of the book.
Before Michael Wolf other artists have created subway series, among them famous names such as Bruce Davidson and Walker Evans, the concept as well as the metonymy of 'Compression' however is new. Michael Wolf is not interested in seat cushions, graffiti, interior architecture or the traveler’s relation to that. He rather discovered the subway system as suitable place in order to investigate mental state and aggregate condition of the city people. Wolf leaves out all accessories, focuses just faces and figures. With his radical aesthetics he creates enormously intensive pictures that in a distressing, yes shocking manner directly aim into the portrayed people’s inner life.
With his accompanying essay TOKYO SUBWAY DREAMS Christian Schüle delivers a gloomy diagnosis to the mass loneliness in modern megacities.
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