Birds of Tegel
Photographs by Daniel Poller

22 April – 11 June 2022

We ask that you wear an FFP2 mask.

For nearly fifty years after its inauguration in 1974, propeller planes and jets took off and landed at the Otto Lilienthal Airport in Berlin-Tegel. Yet just a few days before the last passenger plane landed at TXL in November 2020 and the airport was closed to air traffic, Daniel Poller was able to photograph the crows, pigeons, starlings, and cranes that would soon take over the runways for good.

The result is the series Birds of Tegel (2022), which Galerie Poll is now presenting in the artist’s second solo exhibition, alongside the publication of a volume by the art historian and curator Andreas Prinzing with Edizione Multicolore; the special edition includes a numbered print.

The birds circle the tower, rest on aircraft wings, or fly across the taxiway in flocks. They occupy the building and its infrastructure, flaunting their aeronautic skills as the new masters of the airfield even before the human-made planes cease their operations.

Playfully hung in the gallery, the various formats of the series evoke a landing strip. The motifs in the series have one thing in common: the Birds of Tegel constantly recall the beginnings of aviation. It was birds’ wings, with their feathers, that inspired Otto Lilienthal, after whom the airport was named, in his early attempts to fly with gliders.

In his previous multi-part work Final Version of the Proposed Resolution (2020), Poller observed a black redstart fluttering about the ruins of the Institute for Teacher Training in Potsdam, its home lost in the demolition. The Birds of Tegel, by contrast, take over the airport grounds. The find a place to build a nest in the architecture that has lost its original function after the air traffic was brought to a halt.

The reinterpretation of architecture in urban space, and its legibility as a rewriting of history, is a central theme in Daniel Poller’s work. Another is the coexistence of people and animals in the city. The topic of cohabitation is likewise the focus chosen for the April issue of the magazine ARCH+, which is publishing a series of images taken by Poller.

Daniel Poller, born 1984 in Rodewisch, completed his studies in 2017 at the Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst) in Leipzig as a master’s student of professors Peggy Buth and Joachim Brohm. He has received numerous scholarships, including an artist grant from the Stiftung Kunstfonds in 2018 and again in 2020. In 2015 he was awarded the Aenne Biermann Prize for Contemporary German photography (Gera) and in 2017 the European Architectural Photography Prize (Frankfurt am Main). His works can be found in the Collection of Contemporary Art of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the Deutsches Architekturmuseum Frankfurt am Main, and the n.b.k. Video forum. Poller’s book Frankfurt Copies on the reconstruction of Frankfurt’s “new old town” was recently published by Spector Books in Leipzig, and his exhibition Viertel nach vor (a wordplay that can roughly be rendered as “Quarter Past”) at the Kunstverein Junge Kunst Wolfsburg (until 3rd June 2022) engages the reconstruction of the Potsdam Garrison Church and the social transformation this reflects in a combined show of video work, photographs, and an art object. Daniel Poller lives and works in Berlin.