Jochen Lempert and his poetic look at nature can be discovered until September 4 at the Centre Pompidou.

A tireless observer of nature

From his studies in biology, Jochen Lempert has retained a taste for the observation of nature, which he explores in a very personal way. His images are exhibited at the Centre Pompidou until September 4, 2022. The delicate, poetic images, always in black and white by Jochen Lempert, pay homage to the photographic explorations of plants by Anna Atkins and Karl Blossfeldt. Jochen Lempert most often takes his photographs with a 50 mm lens, which allows him to stay closer of human vision. Thus, what the artist delivers is more an invitation to take a better look at what nature offers us, by opening our eyes and taking the time, rather than a dive into the spectacular snapshot of macro photography. With renewed innocence and curiosity, we marvel at towers of sponges nature, the Herculean strength of an ant, the perfect weaving of a spider’s web, the shadow of a butterfly on the asphalt, the frantic trajectory of a fly in full flight or even the constellation of spots of freckle on one bare shoulder.

A magical iconography

Jochen Lempert sometimes allows himself a shift towards an almost magical iconography, when he plays on the phantasmagorical qualities of the photogram, this image obtained without a camera, by simple contact with photosensitive material. Thus, the artist fixes the ephemeral traces of four tiny frogs on the sensitized paper, which have become two-dimensional abstract spots. A tireless observer of life, Jochen Lempert pays just as much attention to the production of his prints. A perfect laboratory technician, he prepares his developers and fixers himself and he often favors textured or matte papers, which accentuate the sensuality of his images. Alternating large, medium, and even tiny formats, he then constructs complex visual narratives, carefully working on the relationships between the images: formal or conceptual analogies, games of free association, these image compositions come to life in the exhibition space.

The possibilities offered by chemical treatment

Jochen Lempert was born in 1958 in Moers (in North Rhine-Westphalia/Germany), he lives and works in Hamburg. Between 1980 and 1988 he studied at the Friedrich Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn where he obtained a degree in biology with the research project « Studies on the fauna, ecology and reproduction of dragonflies (Odonota) in forest waters Tropical Rainforest in Liberia, West Africa”. At the same time, between 1978 and 1989, he formed, with Jochen Müller and Jürgen Reble, the experimental film collective Schmelzdahin [Dissolve yourself]. Together, they explore the possibilities offered by chemical treatment processes and celluloid film, including the cultivation of bacteria. At the end of the 1980s, Jochen Lempert turned to photography to develop a unique body of work, which was recognized for the first time in 1993 by the Grant for contemporary photography from the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, one of the most renowned distinctions in Germany since 1982. He was also the winner of the Ars Viva Prize – Photography in 1995 (with Thomas Demand, Barbara Probst and Wolfgang Tillmans), and received, in 2017, the Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the city of Graz, Austria .

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