‘Back Alley Deconstructed’ is a project by Michael Wolf, curated by Sarah Greene.
An installation made of 49 objects is placed in an unlikely little gallery space in the middle of Shek Kip Mei’s busiest road. The objects are carefully lined up in an organized manner.
There is a photograph pasted outside the window. It provides a clue on how to contextualise the installation. The image represents the same elements but in its natural environment.
Michael Wolf’s latest body of work is focused around the back alleys of Hong Hong Kong. As per Wolf: ‘Hong Kong’s back alleys are often unnoticed against their more glamorous counterparts of dazzling architecture. However, they are unique to Hong Kong. This is where workers, cleaners and cooks organize their tools or escape to for a little cigarette break. It might seem mundane but it presents an authentic slice of Hong Kong’ grass root culture. In my opinion they should be nominated as a heritage site.’
John Szarkowski, the former director of Moma once said; ‘Photography is a sophisticated way of pointing at things’. And this is what’s happening here.
Instead of just displaying a selection of photographs documenting back alleys, Sarah Greene instead opted to dematerialize the photograph, collect and present its content instead, lending the objects their importance and respect, while the photograph itself is given away for free.