Jochen Lempert: Natural Sources
   Reading 3 min

The Grey Noise gallery presents Natural Sources, the solo exhibition of German photographer Jochen Lempert. Being held in collaboration with ProjecteSD, an art gallery located in Barcelona, the show will end on the 31st of March, 2023.

Being a biologist and dragonfly specialist, Lempert photographs the world of nature with both scientific approach and an appreciation of natural beauty. Using his 35mm camera, the photographer captures flora and fauna in different contexts: museums, zoos, the urban environment, or in remote places. He aims to document things that we usually fail to spot and pay attention to: biological processes, interacting systems, and the passage of time.

Jochen Lempert, Untitled (Landscape), 2014. Photograph, silver gelatin print 3.2 x 5.4 cm.

Lempert prints his black-and-white photographs using analogue techniques. He often manipulates them as he processes them in his darkroom, and a picture may be printed in several sizes before the artist decides which one works best. The paper which Lempert uses has a relatively loose weave, giving each picture a softer effect, so his works remind one of charcoal drawings or detailed pencil sketches.

Lempert displays his photographs unframed and in small groups to highlight non-obvious relationships and similarities between plants, animals, objects, and humans. For example, in the exhibition, the photograph of a falcon silhouette which is soaring overhead is hung against a picture of a fruit pigeon roosting in a person’s hand. Thus, the distance between flight and the human hand gets shorter. Arranging his artworks in a particular way, Lempert gives one new insight into one’s own place within the patterns, the structures, the randomness or the order of the natural world.

Jochen Lempert, Untitled (Atlantic Ocean), 2019. Silver gelatin print, set of 4 photographs. 9 3/10 × 6 1/10 in | 23.5 × 15.5 cm. Edition 1to5/5

The show’s title, Natural Sources, refers to the natural resources which people seem to take for granted, as seen in the depletion of non-renewable resources or the pollution of the oceans with plastic. The exhibition examines the constantly changing relationship between humans and nature. In his work, Lempert explores the field between nature and culture, and invites us to look for their shared source and contemplate the minuscule and expansive beauty of the natural world.

About the artist 

Jochen Lempert (b. 1958, Moers, Germany) resides in Hamburg, Germany. From 1980 to 1988, he studied Biology at the Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn. Between 1978 and 1989, he was a member of the Schmelzdahin experimental film collective; they explored the possibilities offered by the use of chemical processes and celluloid film. 

In the late 1980s, Lempert chose photography as the medium for his work. In 1990, he was given the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation Grant for Contemporary Photography. In 1995, Lempert won the Ars Viva 95/96 Photographie Prize and in 2017, he got the Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography. 

Jochen Lempert, Untitled (Green Tea), 2014. Photograph, silver gelatin print 76.6 x 60.2 cm.

Lempert’s photographs have been displayed all over the world at Culturgest Lisbon (2009), the Ludwig Museum in Cologne (2010); the Hamburger Kunsthalle (2013); the Cincinnati Art Museum, United States (2015); the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, Canada (2016); The Izu Photo Museum in Japan (2016-2017); the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany (2018); and many others.

His artworks are featured in public collections such as the MOMA in New York (USA); “La Caixa” collection, Barcelona (Spain); Colección CA2M, Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid (Spain); Per amor a l’art collection, Valencia (Spain); Museum Ludwig, Museum Folkwang, Sammlung Zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Germany); and others.

More info about the Natural Sources exhibition on its official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting Entwined Matter by Paola Anziché.