On the surface, Michael Wolf’s Bastard Chairs may look simple, somehow thrown together, but if you sit (not on those chairs particularly) and really look at the items, you can see what kind of details he’s trying to capture – no matter how shabby they look. The materials used to fixthe chairs were everyday materials – an old pillow, some dirty string found in someone’s utility drawer, some bricks piled up or an old rock sitting there for 20 years. Even though the chairs look like they were patched up with anything the owners could find, which they practically were, Michael Wolf’s Bastard Chairs go way deeper than that.
The Bastard Chairs project started when he moved to Hong Kong. He covered a wide variety of subjects before he took interest in urban decayed chairs like architecture, counterfeit art, and man-altered landscapes. Wolf captures all angles of the city in his work, essentially bringing the people’s misfortunes to light.
The Bastard Chairs represent life of an urban city. Each of the chairs, no matter their complexity, represents hardships, purpose, and work. The Chinese seem to be more interested in extending their purpose – making the object work again after it’s been broken several times before. His chair photographs do their best to represent China’s devotion to maximizing productivity. While Wolf does wonders representing social significance, he also unintentionally shows the beauty in used objects. Even though the chairs were created for the intentional need of sitting and nothing else, Wolf’s pictures amplify their beauty and individual design.