On paper, the four photographers in Goethe-Institut’s exhibition “Documentary Photography: Wüstenrot Foundation Award Winners 2007/2008” have little in common except for, well, winning the award and being based in Germany. Even so, their work shares a fascination with states of transition. Kirill Golovchenko tracks the shift of Ukraine from communism to Western-style capitalism, embodied in (rather tired) images of greed, from caviar to dollar-sign bathrobes to Hummer stretch limousines. Margaret Hoppe returns to the East German sports training facility where she spent time as a young ski jumper; two decades after it closed following the fall of the Soviet bloc, the facility has become an eerie time capsule. Andrea Diefenbach offers a compelling window into the children of Moldova, whose charming exteriors barely hide the burden of having parents who spend most of their time scratching out a living by taking low-wage jobs in Italy. Still, the exhibit’s clear standout is Aymeric Fouquez, who documents the transformation of a former mining area near Leipzig. In a series of impressive, large-scale prints, Fouquez shows kayakers, picnickers, waders, and jet skiers frolicking in the shadow of cranes and nuclear power plants. Fouquez’s meticulous detail and washed-out beige hues perfectly encapsulate the denuded landscape and its enigmatic evolution.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW 9 A.M. TO 5 P.M. MONDAY TO THURSDAY AND 9 A.M. TO 3 P.M. FRIDAY AT GOETHE-INSTITUT, 812 7TH ST. NW. FREE. (202) 289-1200.