With the exhibit “In Our Time,” 30-something German photographer Anne Lass has produced a Seinfeldian show about nothing: images of a snowplow plying a street, a man relaxing on the grass, an office worker taking a reading break in an outdoor plaza, a bikini-clad woman having a smoke, a couple of kids hanging around a swimming pool. For the most part, Lass’ technique is as prosaic as her subject matter; her conceit appears to be that this string of nonplaces is scattered, indistinguishably, across several continents and a whole bunch of countries. As a theme, it’s rather middling. Only when Lass goes all formalistic on us does she provoke genuine engagement. In one image, five diverse figures stand on Chicago’s lakeshore, punctuating a satisfying geometrical array of sky, grass, and beach. In another, a hooded figure sits on a log bench in Berlin, facing away from the camera and toward a mist-shrouded, almost unreal panorama of apartment buildings. Is it a girl? A woman? A symbolic representation ofdeath? At least in this image, Lass gives us something weighty to ponder.
“IN OUR TIME: PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANNE LASS” IS ON VIEW 9 A.M. TO 5 P.M. MONDAY TO THURSDAY AND 9 A.M. TO 3 P.M. FRIDAY TO MAY 28 AT GOETHE-INSTITUT, 812 7TH ST. NW. FREE. (202) 289-1200.