Sabine Scho

The author and photographer Sabine Scho lived in São Paulo from 2006 to 2014 and now lives in Berlin. All of her texts are located in the area where the written word meets photography, drawing and pictures. Recent publications: Animals in Architecture (KOOKbooks, 2013), The Origin of Senses in cooperation with Andreas Töpfer (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, 2015). Awards: Deutscher Preis für Nature Writing (2018), amongst others. Visiting professor at the Deutsches Literaturinstitut Leipzig 2018/19.

«alle vögel verschwinden» (2020)
«all of the birds are disappearing»

Posters on printed paper, 60 × 80cm

Photographs: Matthias Holtmann, Sabine Scho
Poem: Sabine Scho

Sabine Scho reads «alle vögel verschwinden» (German)
Claudia Bellanca reads «tutti gli uccelli scompaiono» (Italian)

Sabine Scho is a writer who is also a photographer. In words as well as pictures, she has frequently focused on the animal kingdom and its often complicated relationship with the species Homo sapiens. Sixty-one posters depicting two very different animal encounters the author experienced during her stay in Rome and the poem they inspired were mounted on the wall that surrounds the garden of the Villa Massimo and the four- and two-legged creatures that live within like that of a hortus conclusus.

On 17 January, the feast day of Anthony the Great, Sabine Scho and her partner Matthias Holtmann photographed the blessing of pets in front of the Basilica of Saint Eusebius on the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. Although Anthony the Great is actually the patron saint of pigs, hardly any farm animals are now blessed during this ceremony, but almost exclusively domesticated pets.

Excerpt-like, the posters in the second series feature a wide range of different images of birds from the garden hall fresco of the Villa di Livia, which is now on display at the Museo Nazionale Romano Palazzo Massimo. This trompe l'oeil is the world's oldest picture of a garden — it is estimated to date back to 40 to 20 BC — and it is unparalleled in terms of the precision and rich detail of the depictions of flora and fauna. On the one hand, the colour photographs show the many different species of birds; on the other, however, they also capture the physical deterioration of the fresco and the resulting rapid disappearance of the birds.

Sabine Scho's poem links these two animal encounters, brings St Francis of Assisi and his Sermon to the Birds into play, and gives rise to questions: Which animals to we give space to and do we value? Are we even aware of all of the other creatures that live in our cities and other populated environments, beyond people? Do we notice it when they fall silent and disappear?

The work is now exhibited opposite the Schinkel Church, which is decorated with a ceiling painting of a spherical star-strewn cupola. It was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel himself, originally as a stage set for a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute in 1814. This popular opera made a bird catcher, Papageno, world-famous.

  • Villa Massimo at Neuhardenberg Castle

    Villa Massimo at Neuhardenberg Castle

    The winners of the renowned Rome Prize 2019/2020 will present works in an exhibition, in performances and in concerts from September 4th to October 31st.

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