Review of Jochen Lempert: Seeing is Believing at Norma Mangione Gallery,Turin

Seeing is Believing is an exhibition of selected works by the German photographer Jochen Lempert. Lempert’s photographs address the relationship between the world of nature and our man-made world. Having first studied as a biologist Lempert is well acquainted with the natural world and indeed his works often embody a scientific approach to the subject matter seeming to present them as cases studies as well as artistic subject matter.

Works such as Untitled (Antilope), 2008-2013 and Praying Mantis (Nobuko’s Dinner), 2011-2013 present the subjects in an anthropomorphic manner, attributing human characteristics to them as they catch and hold the viewer’s gaze. In others such as Belladonna, 2013 the Belladonna berry is brought to life by it’s juxtaposition with the gleaming eye of the squirrel. Lempert impels the viewer to reflect on nature through intimate moments with its protagonists; enticing us to delve further into its mysterious depths by presenting us with the opportunity to study it up close. On the one hand he offers the possibility of discovery and connection to this world through anthropomorphism. At the same however, he presents us with works to confound the viewer, such as Untitled (Fish), 2013, which seems almost impossible to decipher as an image and therefore reinforces the complexity of nature. The grainy quality of the pictures is a refreshing move away from the high definition world we are surrounded by these days.

The images have been created as gelatin silver prints, a method dating back to the 1880s which renders them in black and white and gives them an almost timeless feel. They are presented against a backdrop of white, stuck directly onto the gallery walls without any kind of frame or mounting and thus focusing attention entirely on the works. With only two rooms, the gallery is an intimate space, thus helping to reinforce the intimacy of the works themselves, which might otherwise be swamped in a bigger exhibition.

Rhiannon McGregor

Jochen Lempert: Seeing is Believing, 15 March unil 4 May, Norma Mangione Gallery, Via Matteo Pescatore, 10124 Turin.


1. Jochen Lempert, Praying Mantis (Nobuko’s Dinner), 2011/2013. Courtesy Norma Mangione Gallery, Torino. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano
2. Jochen Lempert, Seeing Is Believing. Curated by Chris Sharp, Norma Mangione Gallery, Torino, installation view. Courtesy Norma Mangione Gallery, Torino. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano


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