Arts Desk

Reviewed: “Gute Aussichten” at Goethe-Institut

This year’s installment of "Gute Aussichten"—an annual selection of new German photography—features seven artists. The theme is “editing,” though it’s not always clear how each artist hews to it. Sara-Lena Maierhofer creates a psychodocumentary of a compelling subject—Clark Rockefeller, the German-born impostor and accused murderer—but the series provides insufficient context for nonexperts to fully understand the story. Franziska Zacharias constructs interior spaces from scratch and lights them with intriguing hues of pink and lemon yellow, but the resulting large-scale images are disappointingly passionless. Johannes Post takes an inspired concept—carefully ordered matrices of images depicting clothing sliced through as if by a CT scan—but leaves viewers asking to what end. More compelling is a pair of understated mountain desert landscapes by Miriam Schwedt, whose subject matter and light sepia toning strongly echo works by Timothy O’Sullivan. Luise Schroder, meanwhile, produces works inspired by the two biggest tragedies to hit Dresden—the World War II bombing and a 2002 flood—notably a somber video sequence in which books and images of the city are first doused in water and then set ablaze. But two portfolios stand above the rest, and they couldn’t be more different. Sebastian Lang photographs homes in a German town chosen as “average” by a consumer research firm; his images, in eerie, artificially lit, nighttime hues of pale green and amber, offer a bracing blend of Bernd and Hilla Becher iconography and Todd Hido moodiness. If Lang’s imagery is antiseptic, then Julia Unkel’s is bloody to the core. Unkel documents, crisply and dispassionately, the brutal work of a slaughterhouse, from portraits of its uniform-stained workers to an astonishing, nightmarish photograph of a severed cow’s head.

The exhibition is on view to April 27 at Goethe-Institut.

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