Daniela Friebel, Auspicia (2018)
Each winter, Rome’s sky is the stage for mesmerising murmurations of millions of starlings. Swirling and ever shape-shifting liquid-like clouds are formed by a myriad of tiny black dots, moving like one single being in an unpredictable, breathtaking and incredibly swift aerial ballet.
Each winter, in Rome’s largest cemetery, Campo Verano, an ear-splitting cacophony takes place as hundreds of thousands of starlings settle in its trees for their communal night roost at sunset. The incessant drizzle of the bird’s droppings submerges the cemetery under a monochrome, air-stifling coat.
Auspicia literally means looking at birds, and refers to the ancient Roman practice of determining the gods’ consent for major undertakings—this was even how the exact location of Rome was established. Starlings have not always lived in and migrated to Rome. The first reference to them as migrant birds spending the winter is from 1926, and they did not start living in Rome permanently until 1970.
Auspicia reflects on the remains of a once powerful Roman civilisation and the new times that have clearly come. With this site-specific installation, Friebel combines flocks of starlings and graves in shrouds, to create a narrative about unrestricted forms and shapes as well as about protection and concealment. Ultimately, she tries to question the impossibility of control, and man’s futile and unremitting attempts at exerting it.
Daniela Friebel (b. 1975) is a photographer and conceptual artist from and based in Berlin, Germany. She holds a diploma in Fine Arts from the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig and a degree in Literature and Linguistics from Humboldt University Berlin. Friebel’s works revolve around questions of perception. She uses photographic wallpaper or nylon thread in site-specific installations and combines photographs with text fragments to create complex narratives. Among many other exhibitions, her work was included in reGeneration2, which has travelled around the world.
The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Krakow
ul. Krakowska 46
Tue–Sun 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
6 PLN / 9 PLN