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Tokyo Compression Final Cut
Photographs by Michael Wolf
The fourth and final edition of the photobook classic.
Once again better, more dense, more beautiful, more oppressive than all predecessors.
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 are shown in exhibitions around the globe. The first three editions of the book are sold out.
And the topic kept haunting Michael Wolf as well. Again and again he returned to Tokyo in order to immerse in the subsurface insanity. Now with "Tokyo Compression Final Cut" the fourth, 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 much different. 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 dwellers. 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.