The first major U.S. museum exhibition featuring German artist Jochen Lemperts photographs will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum
from Oct. 17, 2015March 6, 2016. The show will include more than 100 hand-printed black-and-white photographs spanning 15 years.
Originally trained as a biologist, Lempert began making artistic photographs of animals, plants, and natural phenomena during the early 1990s in Hamburg, Germany. Lemperts unique background allows him to depict the world with both scientific rigor and a poetic sensibility, said Brian Sholis, Cincinnati Art Museum Curator of Photography.
The artist uses both conventional and experimental processes, and the results are anything but traditional nature photos. Out in the field, Lempert uses his 35-mm camera to chart human-animal interactions, the patterns made by birds and insects, or the play of sunlight and shadow. But he also brings the outside world into the studio, making camera-less photograms of leaves and algae or letting bioluminescent species like fireflies expose photographic paper. The exhibition will also include his ongoing 25-year project to document all 80 known taxidermy specimens of the Great Auk, a flightless North Atlantic bird that went extinct in 1844.
Lempert often arranges his images in sequences or grids to highlight similarities, underscore how classification defines what we see, and encourage close looking. The photographs, in a wide variety of sizes, will be placed on the walls unmounted and unframed in an installation devised on-site by the artist and curator.
This survey of Lemperts photographs includes new work made on the East Coast and in Cincinnati during May 2015. His behind-the-scenes visits to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Museum of Natural History & Science at Cincinnati Museum Center, and the Lloyd Library and Museum allowed him to cast new light on these familiar local landmarks. Several artworks made in Cincinnati will be included in the show.