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Hong Kong. Pascal Greco. Infolio, Switzerland. 2018

By Daniel Espinoza

Honk Kong is a book encompassing 135 Black & White Polaroids of individual buildings and housing estates photographed by Pascal Greco on Hong Kong, the Kowloon Peninsula and in the New Territories.

 

In this urban series, Pascal focuses his lens on the different architectural typologies that coexist in Hong Kong, thus revealing the architectural transformations experienced by the city since the 1950s, and the consequential changes on the private and public spaces.

 

In this way, the book is subtly divided into three different sections; the first one shows low rise buildings from the 1950-60s, the second represents the slab-blocks from the 1960-70s, and the last one portrays the big towers built in the 1980-2000s. By capturing these buildings in Black & White, Pascal dissects them, favouring shape and form over the colorful life that we know about Hong Kong. Furthermore, this lack of colour provides an atemporal look that generously contributes to the architectural analysis of the city.

 

However when looking at these images, it is inevitable to stop thinking about the living conditions that prevail on the city, and to address this concern, the book contains a text by Dr Ernest Chui, in which he describes the contrasts and problems that faces Hong Kong. High density, high property price and stark disparities between the rich and the poor, are mentioned amongst the main issues that coexist together with the superficial beauty and glamour of the city, inviting us to reflect about the problems created by capitalism and economic growth.

 

This is an exhaustive work, which of course reminds us the works of Gursky or Wolf. However Pascal has a different approach. Using a small Black & White instant format and not only focusing on the repetition of forms and density of the buildings, Pascal's approach is an architectural journey of the city, which questions the urban landscape and the conditions of those who inhabit the buildings.

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