Plant Volatiles by Jochen Lempert

Published by BQ (2016)
64 Pages, 20.5 x 27.5, Paperback

With his urban, nature and animal photography, Jochen Lempert picks up subjects he has been following since his studies of biology; formerly with scientific interests. Due to his technique of analogue b&w prints, his works have nothing in common with objective documentation originating in a scientist’s perspective; if at all, they follow up the very early role of 19th century photography that was used to illustrate scientific almanacs with a certain aesthetic demand. Lempert’s view directs our attention to biological phenomena such as mimesis and mimicry, the conquest of new habitats, the adaption to changing environmental conditions and to group behaviour. By parallelising photographs of different species, of humans and animals, or of technology and nature, which formally resemble each other, like a scientist he suggests the existence of a hidden principle that hints at a meaningful interrelation. At the same time, the question poses if it is not only our systematising perception that induces us to recognise formal resemblances. While factual science will never be able to embrace the enchantments of nature, Lempert’s photographs meet up with them when showing swarms of animals, where individuals dissolve and become part of a new form, or when picturing insects as foreign bodies within a context they do not belong to and the coherence of which they irritate. As frozen ephemeral appearances breaking up not only the formal coherence of the image but also its meaning and representational function, they are symbols of time and of the ever impenetrable secret of all living.