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The four photographers in the Goethe-Institut’s documentary photography show share little in common except for being based in Germany and having won the same award from the Wustenrot Foundation. Even so, their work shares a fascination with states of transition. Kirill Golovchenko tracks the shift of Ukraine from communism to western-style capitalism, embodied in (rather tired) images of greed, from caviar to dollar-sign bathrobes to Hummer stretch limousines. Andrea Diefenbach offers a compelling window into the children of Moldova, whose charming exteriors barely hide the burden of having parents who spend most of their time scratching out a living by taking low-wage jobs in Italy. Margaret Hoppe returns to the East German sports training facility where she spent time as a young ski jumper; two decades after it closed following the fall of the Soviet bloc, the facility has become an eerie time capsule. Still, the exhibit’s clear standout is Aymeric Fouquez, who documents the transformation of a former mining area near Leipzig, Germany. In a series of impressive, large-scale prints, Fouquez shows kayakers, picnickers, waders and jet skiers frolicking in the shadow of cranes and nuclear power plants. Fouquez’ meticulous detail and washed-out beige hues perfectly encapsulate the denuded landscape and its enigmatic evolution.
At the Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh Street, NW, Washington, DC. (202) 289-1200. Open Monday-Thursday 9-5 and Friday 9-3.