Litfaß: These pictures are important to me. About a year ago, I was looking for opportunities to focus on composition without paying too much attention to subject.
In this search I found Litfaßsäulen, advertising columns. On these columns, they attach one poster on top of the other. It’s standard procedure here in Germany, so if you look closely your realize the columns grow in diameter.
But there’s a local specialty in Wiesbaden: Somebody writes over the brighter parts of the posters, leaving quotes from the Bible, sometimes advertising his ability as an exorcist. Later, someone apparently not liking these particular graffiti tries to tear off the poster pieces that have been written on. And then the ‘work’ of the writer and his (alleged) adversary may be covered with a new advertisement the next day.
This is what we are looking at in the pictures: They represent a ‘slice of time.’
Still, I am asking myself why I don’t create palimpsests from old books or magazines or travel brochures? They could look very much the same as these photos with one difference: The palimpsest would feel like first-hand reality (as opposed to only a representation of a first-hand reality).
Would that really be better? The photos enlarge the paper’s structure as well as the dots and details that come with the printing process of the poster, and fragments of handwriting. I feel like I am at the ‘inside’ of the posters.
I realize that part of these photographs’ fascination lies in view of this materiality – graffiti pictures showing similar compositions do not do the job as well; I tried it: They always fall a bit short of my expectations.