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For whatever reason, the winners of the “Gute Aussichten: Young German Photographers” competition seem to prefer their images dark. Ingo Mittelstaedt offers detritus-based still lifes–coal crumbled over torn leather, a mélange of pine cones, purple cabbage, and knotted garbage bags. Mona Monning’s airless, gray-hued dog portraits rip a page from William Wegman, while Sonja Kalberer offers ominous interiors in various states of destruction and charring. More compelling is a series of images by Ute Klein in which pairs of figures embrace each other in attitudes halfway between affection and aggression, as well as a visually inventive series by Philipp Dorl that pays homage to trompe l’oeil painting and Magritte-style surrealism. A ray of sunlight is a collection of landscape triptychs by Shigeru Takato, whose exacting portrayals of Mars-worthy scrublands are undercut by inscrutable captions. But the exhibition’s clear standout is Anna Simone Wallinger, who turns a Paul Graham–style documentary series about identical manufactured-housing units for immigrants in Berlin into a weighty meditation on visual theme and variation.

THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW 9 A.M. TO 5 P.M. MONDAY TO THURSDAY AND 9 A.M. TO 3 P.M. FRIDAY TO SEPT. 3 AT GOETHE-INSTITUT, 812 7TH ST. NW. FREE. (202) 289-1200.