Exhibition: November 14 – December 19, 2015 & January 6 – 16, 2016
Following on from and in loose relation to Anders Clausen’s exhibition, Between Bridges presents Jochen Lempert’s first solo exhibition in Berlin since 1993. In Clausen’s exhibition, two approaches to the human perception of nature were shown side by side: the desire for exact measurement, embodied by the urgency in the nineteenth century to find an internationally binding universal standard for the measuring unit of the metre. This was calculated using the circumference of the earth and then transferred to a metal rod with the highest precision. In the second group of works, the feathers of various species of birds were altered and worked on in various ways that a clear separation between human-made modifications and evolutionarily determined design became unclear.
For the last 25 years Jochen Lempert has been engaged in an ongoing project that deals with the perception of nature and creatures within the blurry contexts of scientific research, subjective perception and man-made environments. Birds and their feathering are also a recurring motif in Lempert’s work, although the full range of his observations extends way further: from an analogy between the glossiness of the berries of the Deadly Nightshade plant and the eye of a squirrel, to the visualization of his own breath by way of long exposures of small segments of night sky with a camera that has been positioned on his chest. With his analogue black and white photographs he has produced a fascinating, complex, yet always also incomplete encyclopedia of morphological studies that consciously resist the taxonomic classifications of animals and plants.
For Between Bridges Jochen Lempert will show, as is characteristic of his working practice, a selection of photographs that, in their reference to space and moment, amount to a site-specific installation. Besides directing the visitor’s gaze to the outside world, it also calls attention to the object onto which this world is inscribed: the photographic paper, the image object. The prints, which are mounted directly onto the wall with adhesive tape, may be experienced as a conjunction of plant fibres and silver crystals.
Jochen Lempert (born 1958) studied biology at the University of Bonn and has worked with photography since the early 1990s. On the track of a scientific approach, the pursuit of a trail, the exploration and discovery of form, liberated from objective gestures, Jochen Lempert´s work approaches photographic visual and research areas, often with the aim of questioning the criteria of the search for truth and the models of the world.
Lempert’s attentive and discerning gaze is not limited to the moment when he shoots or processes the material. His work grows in and into space. In his presentations, he uses groupings and scale to respond to the exhibition space. He places and selects the photographs thoughtfully, always looking for cross-references and associations, uncovering subtle correspondences. Lempert’s arrangements give us new insights into our own place within the patterns, the structures, the randomness or the order of the natural environment. The resulting patterns, structures and formations are both modest and impressive artistic documents of the world around us.
The critic Carles Guerra noted in Art Journal, January 30, 2015: “One might conclude Lempert is a defender of the rights of nature, someone for whom the ecological perspective is not lyrical, but political. To convey such an ambitious, political program with his humble photographs taped on the wall reinforces the utopian aspects of this project. With the edges curling away, Lempert’s photographs look precarious. The means of production and the aspirations are so disproportionate that one cannot help but feel sympathy for the photographer’s position. He is an artist who faithfully believes that nature will speak by itself, this being the ultimate goal of this project. Thus the photographer is no longer a witness, but a vanishing point about to disappear.”
Especially noteworthy among Jochen Lempert’s numerous solo exhibitions are 365 Quadres sobre Història Natural, ProjecteSD, Barcelona, 2003; Coevolution, Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, 2005; Recent Field Work, Culturgest, Lisbon, 2009; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, 2010; Hamburger Kunsthalle, 2013; Cincinatti Art Museum, 2015. Published monographs: 365 Tafeln zur Naturgeschichte, Bonner Kunstverein / Kunstverein Freiburg, 1997; Coevolution, 2005; Recent Field Work, 2009; Phenotyp, 2013; Composition, 2015, all: Walther König Books, Cologne. In 1995, Jochen Lempert was awarded the Ars Viva Preis des Kulturkreises im BDI, together with Thomas Demand, Barbara Probst and Wolfgang Tillmans. BQ will present a solo exhibition with new works by Jochen Lempert for the Berlin Gallery Weekend 2016. Jochen Lempert is represented by ProjecteSD, Barcelona and BQ-Berlin.