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Jochen Lempert. Phenotype
Curator: Asta Vaičiulytė
2020.07.17 – 08.30
Friday 17 July from 6pm: Exhibition opening
Saturday 18 July at 3pm: Exhibition tour with artist Jochen Lempert and exhibition curator Asta Vaičiulytė


‘Phenotype’ – an exhibition of analogue photography by German photographer Jochen Lempert, installed in the CAC’s Great Hall, presents works by the artist that have largely been created over the past five years. A biologist by training, Jochen Lempert (b. 1958 Moers, Germany) worked during the 1980s at Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn while at the same time collaborating with the film group Schmelzdahin. Together they produced experimental films and carried out research in the fields of shooting, montage and material processing along with studying at length the effects of bacteriological and chemical alterations of film. Since then, by joining up the worlds of scientific and artistic thinking, Lempert has continued his exploration into the properties and materiality of the photographic image as well as research into various life forms and their ways of coexistence.

Lempert’s photographs are always black and white, captured on 35 mm film, developed, and hand printed by the artist in his studio. He photographs diverse environments – nature, natural history museums, zoos and cities – places where nature and culture intertwine, thus reminding us of the continuous and inevitable affect we have on each other and our milieus. This non-finite variety of interplay is also present in his photography books and exhibitions – each time new arrangements, meanings and contexts are created.

The attentiveness of the process and the imagery captured in the artist’s photographs remind us also of slower times, when we have long enough to look closely and linger within our own lives. In his work, Lempert explores the interrelations of the human and natural world as well as themes of looking, being seen and the human gaze (phenotype is the term used in genetics for the composite observable characteristics or traits of an organism). At the same time, the artist’s works seem to challenge our anthropocentric gaze of the world: his photographs are characteristic of a non-hierarchical approach, here everything is equally important – plants, animals, things and people. Lempert’s oeuvre is also pertinent in the context of the challenges we face today, i.e. an inevitable necessity to find a new equilibrium within ecological, social and interpersonal relations. And although his photographs do not aim to perform this task directly, they carry an ability to awaken a different kind of seeing and connection, one that is more delicate and open.


Architect: Linas Lapinskas
Graphic design: Vytautas Volbekas
Communication: Dovilė Grigaliūnaitė
Technical team: Audrius Antanavičius, Almantas Lukoševičius, Ivanas Vilkoicas, Ilona Virzinkevič, Dmitrij Bogdanov

Acknowledgements: Alexander Mayer, Gemma Lloyd, Laura Grigaliūnaitė, Antanas Dombrovskij, Virginija Januškevičiūtė.


Project is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Goethe-Institut Litauen.

Image: Jochen Lempert, Bills, 2020, silver gelatine print, fragment, courtesy the artist and galleries ProjecteSD (Barcelona) and BQ (Berlin).
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