Stefanie Reichelt  photography and prints
public sheets

'Ficken Sheets'

are part of a Cambridge wide project called A:L:L

starting on the 17th October 2013

These photographs are of paper sheets on a German public billboard column, which is called ‘Litfaßsaüle’. These billboards, invented and installed by the German printer Ernst Litfaß in 1855, are common in Germany.

Close-ups of the paper sheets reveal stains, traces, marks, blemishes, slits, folds and rips similar to those found on cotton sheets of a bed. The photographs expose a second layer – the concealed photograph of a mistress – a public figure. Someone wrote ‘Ficken’ in neat little writing on one of these sheets. ‘Ficken’ is German for ‘fucking’.

The billboards carry layers upon layers of paper sheets, new skin upon torn old skin, like layers of time marking history upon the bark of a tree. They grow portly with interlinking stories of society, private and public, personal and communal, past and present. They portage the repertoire of our social lives and experiences.

The torn photograph of the mistress, both hidden and revealed, tells another story. Royal mistresses have carried the sights and smells of unspoken history: of power and passion, loyalty and betrayal, danger and suspense.

Royal marriages, throughout history, have been dictated by the power of politics and dynasty. Monarchs have not always married for love, but have been free to choose their mistresses. Some mistresses have wielded considerable power – they have often been the power behind the throne – privy to the royal ear and private thoughts.