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22 Pictures Of China's Strangest Chairs

In his series Bastard Chairs, German photographer Michael Wolf captures some pretty interesting seating arrangements.

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The former photojournalist spent eight years working in Hong Kong before taking up fine art photography. For his first non-editorial series, Wolf traveled across mainland China photographing the most unusual makeshift furniture he could find.

In his series, the top of a desk chair stands in a bucket of cement, a sideways-leaning wooden seat is held together with wire and rusted nails and a metal-framed chair uses cardboard boxes as cushions.

“They are not elegant, nor are they always comfortable,” the photographer explained in his 2002 book Sitting in China. “But neither are they mass-produced: they are individuals. In China, the objects used for sitting are as manifold as the occasions for sitting. Each chair and stool has its own character, is a companion, a bastard, or a venerable elder. Their occupants sit close to the floor, introspective, watching the world go by, without the pressure of time.”

According to Wolf, he was detained twice by Chinese authorities during the creation of the series. While the photographer chose these everyday objects as a testament to the resourcefulness of the Chinese people, officials felt that his work was demeaning to the country.

Images from the “Bastard Chair” series later appeared in his book, Sitting in China. Wolf currently lives in Hong Kong and focuses most of his work on life in China's megacities.


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