Ansel Krut’s Napoleon On Elba was inspired by Ingres’ 1806 painting Portrait Of Napoleon On The Imperial Throne which depicts the emperor with ostentatious pomp and glory. “I was thinking about portraiture and power and wanted to paint something in response to that. There was something about the painting’s title, and the paleness of Napoleon that made me think of toilet paper. Rendering him as stacked loo rolls is a reflection of the absurdity of official portraits. I worked from a model I set up in my studio: I had to buy cheap toilet paper to get the right tactile quality, and I made the turds from plasticine. The muted tones relate to the density or materiality of the paint itself, which looks slightly digested as if it has run through some sort of system. I wanted the paint to carry the same kind of messages as the image.”

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