The idea of the “Grey Series” is the following: There is always the same frame – a grey box that indicates the dimension in which we live. We perceive the surface of the frame as belonging to our world.
A picture is “stuck” to the back of the box. There you will find a wide variety of subjects:
Still lifes, landscapes, nudes, surreal compositions.
We see that the image is painted on paper because the paper is becoming detached from the background, and because of the painted cracks at the edges of the imaginary sheet.
A great many different objects are lying on the grey frame, most of them belonging to everyday life. This creates interesting possibilities for playful juxtaposition and nesting in different areas of the painting.
The observer will want to remove or exchange the objects, because they are lying in his dimension and do not seem to be part of the framed picture.
But these everyday objects always interact with the composition in the background.
They influence it although they exist in a different dimension.
Wolfgang Lettl's surreal recipe is this:
Paint objects that don't go together in an unreal space, and you will get surprising compositions that may be more or less meaningful.
In the infinite vastness of the sea of possibilities there is a bridge.
Someone wants to go up.
At the top he meets someone.
He recognizes that the rival is himself
- and challenges himself to a duel.
Philosophers are people who go to great lengths to try and solve problems that lie outside our normal world of experience.
They want to unearth the truth from other dimensions.
In the process they find out that they reach their limits very fast.
Pulling a nail from a wall in a different dimension can become a life's work and an unsolvable problem.
Having your own wife for a model is ideal, she is always available, and if something is missing in a painting, you can always have your wife lying there, she always looks good. With time you get to know her by heart, so you don’t need a model at all anymore, or very rarely for some detail.
Clothespins, too, are always available to me, but although they have beautiful colours and lie still so nicely, they cannot compete with my Venus.
When a shoe brush meets a triumphal arch you would have to assume that the shoe brush is meaningless.
And when a king meets a beggar, or a philosopher an idiot, there is a similar imbalance.
Who sets the standards?
In my painting I like the shoe brush much better, because a smell of usefulness adheres to it.
It smells of shoe polish. It is closer to me.
The attraction of surrealism is its ability to bring images from the unconscious into consciousness.
As if one were to pull a fish from the unreal painted water and carry it through the painting into the frying pan.
The zigzag course of the shadow of the fishing rod and the question as to where the wet net should be dripping give us an inkling of the difficulties arising from such an endeavour.
The mobile, progress-oriented society runs back and forth aimlessly and headlessly.
It draws its legitimacy from the number of followers.
If everybody does it, it can't be wrong.
They are all pursuing happiness.
I fear they have lost the keys.
The last picture in this series is called “Departure”.
In the background you can see a group of refugees marked by hardship as they wander through the painting.
A hole punch lies on the grey frame.
In the painting it becomes a symbol of what is left behind or what remains when people go from us.
Curator of the Lettl Collection — Florian Lettl
Translation into English — Annegret Nill