Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when, deep into the movie, Dr. Jones takes a leap of faith into what appears to be a deep chasm but is in fact a land bridge whose outline he can’t distinguish from the far cavern wall? “Proofs,” a site-specific photography exhibition of Elena Volkova’s work at Hamiltonian Gallery, draws on a similar trick of perception, obscuring the gallery’s walls and floorboards with photographs of the same, and challenging the viewer to tease out the nuance in between. Some of Volkova’s photos obscure the very parts of the gallery space they depict. In other images an opposite wall might be portrayed, and still other photographs are plain disorienting. In a sense Volkova is asking the viewer to take a leap of faith—to trust in the concrete and truthful nature of photography even as she so simply and ably commandeers the viewer’s sense of doubt and ambiguity. That demonstration is both rational and, in an appealing way, very sculptural—a point she makes about 2-D images primarily through the third dimension.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW NOON TO 6 P.M. TUESDAY TO SATURDAY AT HAMILTONIAN GALLERY, 1353 U ST. NW. FREE. (202) 332-1116.