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TO JUNE 22
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The work of Oliver Boberg leaves viewers with much to ponder. Following the lead of fellow German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, Boberg documents banal, and anonymous, industrial spaceshighways, warehouses, loading docks. Where Boberg breaks ranks is with his technique. Rather than photographing real life directly, as the Bechers do, he painstakingly crafts scale models, then photographs them. The resulting works are modern-day triumphs in trompe l’oeil. Although Conner Contemporary Art’s tiny Boberg show features two such photographs, the clear centerpiece of the exhibitionHimmel V, completed last yearis radically different in subject matter. Whereas Boberg typically ignores the sky altogether when photographing his industrial environments, the only thing offered in Himmel V is a baby-blue one punctuated by wispy clouds, crafted from Plexiglas and cotton. Boberg arranges this skyscape into two rows of five white-bordered panels each. On first glance, Himmel V pales, literally, when compared with Boberg’s earlier works. But then you start to notice things. The matrix, for starters, isn’t a panorama, but rather a stop-motion sequence depicting the same cloud forms as they move across the sky. Moreover, one panel twists the view 180 degreesperhaps a winking homage to Alfred Stieglitz, who also toyed with vertical and horizontal axes when making his famed “Equivalent” cloud series. Himmel isn’t the most impressive skyscape to be shown in Washington this yearOla Kolehmainen’s even more expansive “Air,” shown this spring at the Embassy of Finland, takes that honorbut it’s a worthy addition to this venerable genre. Himmel is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Saturday, June 22, at Conner Contemporary Art, 1730 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 588-8750. (Louis Jacobson)