Born 1958 and now living in Hamburg, since the 1990s Jochen Lempert has worked with the expertise of a trained biologist, the eye of a photographer, and the methods of a scientist. Now an exhibition space of 500 qm is to be devoted to Lempert's work of the last 15 years. His photographs are dedicated to the animal world and nature. In his early work he investigated the ways in which the animal world, caught in the cross-currents of
nature and culture, is given anthropomorphic interpretations or industrial uses, and how it stealthily capture new niches in urban space.
His earliest and still unfinished group of pictures, "The Skins of Alca impennis", shows for instance the great auk. During his travels Lempert has been to see the around eighty taxidermied examples in natural history museums to complete, step by step, his portrait series on this striking bird. Lempert's "Morphological Studies", on the other hand, are concerned with similarities between the animal and human realms, using ordering systems that frequently have an associative basis. The focus of interest in his recent groups of works is directed to patterns, formations, and structures whose aleatoric power can be found in swarming birds, eddying waters and billowing clouds.
His black and white analogue exposures are printed on thick photographic paper so that their materiality is emphasised when they are hung, which is done in accord with the space. Part of the exhibition will consist of works done in 2009 during Lempert's stay at Villa Massimo in Rome. Along with photograms on which insects and reptiles have left their traces, he will also include a series of photos of Stromboli - an active volcano emitting a black cloud the shape of an amorphous jellyfish that rises up and slowly dissipates, until the pale horizon becomes visible against the dark foreground and the smoke-blackened sky. Such motif may well prompt viewers to go back, beyond Lempert's most recent work, and discover his early oeuvre.
Curator: Dr. Barbara Engelbach
A catalogue is published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne.