The Operation

Wolfgang Lettl1999

Lettl Collection

Lettl Collection

Work on the preliminary drawings for the painting, "The Operation", began in mid-January, 1999.

As the military situation in Kosovo was coming to a head and Operation Allied Force, the second, so-called inter-state phase of the conflict began on March 24, 1999, the interpretation of this painting seemed obvious.

Wolfgang Lettl describes it like this: "I took up the symbol-laden theme of the “bridge” once more which I had dealt with on several pevious occasions. This time I had an unspecified battle raging on a bridge above a vertiginous abyss. Such battle images can have a strong effect in terms of movement, colour, and suspense, but it would have turned out to be a meagre affair had I not deployed the superweapon of a superpower as befits our modern times. The exact decisive moment of this unexpected blast is what I painted.
To what extent did the then current conflict in Kosovo inspire me? A little, maybe."

It was hard to imagine at the time that this painting would then acquire a second component concerning Wolfgang Lettl himself; perhaps the yellow figure leaning on one arm and reaching for its belly with the other, on the left half of the bridge. It was a medical operation with serious consequences for Wolfgang Lettl's health.

Against this background Florian Lettl made the surreal 21-minute film, "The Operation" (1999).

In this very challenging film Florian Lettl processed his feelings in connection with Wolfgang Lettl's serious illness. A film where shooting came first and the script came after. The focus is on the creation of "The Operation", a painting that may be re-interpreted completely in light of events that occurred after it was completed.

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