Cover Michael Wolf, Architecture of Density #99, 2007 © The Estate of Michael Wolf (Photo: Courtesy of Flowers Gallery)

London’s Flowers Gallery opens its first space in Asia in Sheung Wan with a Michael Wolf exhibition this May

Flowers Gallery—which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year—will launch a new space in Sheung Wan on May 21 with an inaugural exhibition of works by the late German photographer Michael Wolf, who is famous for capturing the architectural hyper-density of cities such as Hong Kong, Chicago and Tokyo.

Founded by British art world grande dame Angela Flowers in 1970, the London-based Flowers Gallery is one of the longest-running international contemporary art galleries in the world. An avid art collector, Flowers befriended a number of artists in the town of St Ives, which has long been a favourite seaside retreat for artists and which is now home to an outpost of the Tate gallery. These friendships inspired her to open her own gallery in Lisle Street in London's West End.

Since its early days, Flowers Gallery—which now has spaces in the West End, Shoreditch and New York City—has been committed to supporting young artists. It is known for its impressive photography programme, as well as recurring exhibitions, most notably Artist of the Day and Small is Beautiful, which have established a high-profile platform for emerging and under-recognised young contemporary artists across a wide range of media. As of today, it has represented more than 50 international artist’s estates and artists, including leading British artists Ken Currie and Bernard Cohen, and has presented more than 900 exhibitions across its global locations over the last five decades.

Flowers Gallery has chosen Hong Kong as its first Asian location. The new space in Sheung Wan will officially open its doors on 21 May, complementing the global programme of exhibitions with a dedicated series of Spotlight exhibitions to introduce international artists represented by the gallery to the region. “Flowers was one of the first galleries to open in East London taking over an industrial space in Hackney in the 1980s,” says Jonny Davies, director of the Hong Kong gallery, “Sheung Wan has a similar feeling to this area and echoes our history. It will act as a hub to connect artists, curators and collectors in the pan-Asian region.” Managing director Matthew Flowers adds that the gallery's expansion into a permanent location in Asia “reflects the development of strong relationships with artists, collectors, curators and museums in the region”.

The first of the Hong Kong Spotlight series presents Michael Wolf, a legendary photographer who lived and worked in the city from 1994 until he passed away in 2019, and who had worked with Flowers Gallery since 2011. “Michael once described himself as ‘a chronicler of Hong Kong,’” says Davies. “This exhibition explores the various mediums Michael used to document the unique ability that Hong Kong has to adapt to change. It is a time of unprecedented change globally. This body of work shows a resilience of Hong Kong and it is important to highlight the unique characteristics of the city.”

The Spotlight on Michael Wolf exhibition will showcase famous works from the internationally renowned series Architecture of Density, presenting an abstracted view of Hong Kong’s seemingly endless residential and industrial facades; Informal Solutions, a series of photographic typologies and vernacular sculptures that shows an intimate perspective of the city from within its back alleys; and Cheung Chau Sunrises, Wolf’s last project, which shifted his focus away from the hyper-dense metropolises that he'd focused on previously. 

The exhibition will run from May 22 to July 25, 2020, with the invite-only private view taking place on May 21.

See also: The Tatler Guide To Art Galleries In Sheung Wan