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13 Attempts to Become a Rooster - 5

Wolfgang Lettl1978

Lettl Collection

Lettl Collection

The series "13 Attempts to Become a Rooster" dates back to the years 1977/78.

The series may be considered a surreal Curriculum Vitae.

In Image Five Wolfgang Lettl uses the portrait painted by François Gérard (1770-1837) of Napoleon I in front of the Chateau de Malmaison, and attaches a rooster's head, a common symbol for France, to Napoleon's body. The background he painted is more stately than that in Gérard's picture.

The story of Wolfgang Lettl's relationship with Napoleon is as follows:
"Even in my earliest youth I felt connected to Napoleon. He was my idol. I knew him from a colourful little picture which showed the emperor with his child-like face looking at me blue-eyed and majestically, and I imagined that there was some resemblance between our features.

Whenever I had to have my hair cut at the barber's I contemplated my face in his large mirror to check to what extent I had succeeded in matching my features to those of the great Napoleon.

My fascination with the emperor began to pale at the same time as I began to realize that my features were gradually, but more and more unmistakably, taking a different direction than Napeleon's. He finally ceased to be a suitable role model, and as my knowledge of history progressed he actually turned out to be more and more unappealing.

Meanwhile my silent admiration had turned towards a lady who smiled at me kindly with dazzling white teeth from a Chlorodont billboard. Oh she was beautiful.

Nevertheless I have not forgotten Napoleon completely, and I give him credit for one thing: He is said to have stated once: "Whoever robs someone of his time should be locked up just like a common thief."

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