13 Attempts to Become a Rooster - 8

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.

Image Eight shows a Cubist figure in front of a grey wall. The figure bears only a vague resemblance to a rooster, but a bit of red and the yellow bowl inject some colour into the gloominess.

The following text is to be found among Wolfgang Lettl's wartime memories:
At the time, as the first significant works of Surrealism were being created, Germany soon became completely isolated from the modern currents in art; as far as I knew, Augsburg, the city of my birth, was just being timidly licked by Impressionism. A benevolent description of the artistic influences of my early years would be "Romantic/Biedermeier".

My turn towards Surrealism came about in different ways. The war brought me to Paris for a few years where I breathed big city air, learned to appreciate the French, and occasionally saw Surrealist paintings which I hated at first but came to admire more and more as I was getting used to them.

During the second half of the war I was an airman and good fortune prevented me from ever seeing an enemy or having to shoot. We were bored, especially during the dark Norwegian winters, and resorted to fooling around. We fooled around with distorted words; sometimes the results were not fit for polite society.

But there were surprises as well:
Where in Schiller's Song of the Bell "raw forces reign senselessly" we came up with "raw forests sense forcelessly", which seems totally meaningless to the mind, but conjures up a wonderful image compared to Schiller's half sentence which comes across as tired and colourless.

This is just a small example of how surreal thought and perception were innate in me, and not only in me, and how they found their justification in the experience of the senselessness of war.

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