Elements of consciousness/Reflection.
146×114 cm. 1997. Oil and raw pigment on canvas.
I have just put the finishing touches to a front page for the new Corner catalogue for 2007. My first thought was to use a painting on the cover but I thought that the catalogue was almost like a book, an independent entity, which ought to have its own distinctive life. Therefore I chose to make an autonomous cover for the catalogue.
It’s quite a challenge to make a cover for Corner. The Association is an old group with a rich tradition. It stands for Danish painting dating back to Eckersberg, Købke, Philipsen, Weie and Hartz.
All of these are painters to whom I am greatly indebted, as I have studied their paintings for the last 30 years.
Quite by chance I found a lucky-dip in Vejle, which was full of old catalogues from Corner from the last 20 years. That was lucky. The covers gave me an idea of what Corner stood for. The sum total of these covers have resided in the back of my mind ever since.
I started by drawing several sketches. Threw them away and arrived at the final idea, a motif which I immediately caught on to. A motif that shows tradition and innovation, elements of consciousness for a backward look and a look into the future.
A tiger motif in more ways than one.
A tiger looking at its reflection.
Mongolian tiger. 114×146 cm. 1997. Oil and raw pigment on canvas.
One of the most important things for my painting is the paint.
I make my own paints out of the purest pigments you can get, mixed with a medium on the basis of linseed oil, which has taken me years to develop and perfect. It is a family secret.
I take the classical colours as my starting point.
Cadmium lemon yellow
Cadmium medium yellow
Chrome Oxide green
When one uses the classic colour pigments, each pigment has its own inherent potential or character. One can discover in the pigments the potentialities which suit one’s own temperament. The multiplicity is legion.
For example when one paints natural ochre into a white, a gold echo comes into being and an intimate sensuality, which can remind one of a tiger’s skin when the sun shines on it.
It is quite safe to say that most paint colours die a little when they are pre-mixed on the palette. The best thing to do is undoubtedly to mix them directly on the canvas.
Art is a form of madness because there are so many risks in connection with artistic observations. The transgressions of normal limits which every artistic process presupposes can be fateful.
The costs are great. Sometimes it is a matter of life or death.
An artist who outlives himself can control his madness. Controlled madness is the true badge of an artist.
Through controlled madness the artist reaches the targets he aspires to.
Madness can be a wild tiger which must not be killed. One must make do with identifying it, hunting it, forcing it up in to a corner and harnessing it to one’s feelings and imagination.
Madness can be a wild Tiger. 146×114 cm. 1997.
Oil and raw pigment on canvas.
A wild tiger must be tamed.
The tamed tiger will lead the artist much further forward than any school, teacher, drug or religion will be able to.
But as with every source of strength and development, there is a risk in playing with one’s own savagery. Sometimes when the identification and the hunt go too fast, the process disintegrates and the tamed tiger turns on the artist with its atavistic savagery.
See more paintings >>HERE
Ochre Tiger. 114×146 cm. 1997. Oil and raw pigment on canvas.
Close to where I live there is an ochre pit which has been famous from olden times for its rich seams of ochre – a material whose use as a colour pigment goes right back to the Ice Age cave paintings in the south of France and north of Spain.
I am always inspired by ochre in my painting. The strong sunlight which falls on the yellow or reddish-yellow slopes makes them light up so one imagines that they consist of cadmium yellow or orange. The slopes make a vivid contrast to the cerulean blue of the sky. Dark green pine trees grow all over the ochre pits, and they are covered in a fine layer of ochre dust which is whirled up constantly by the wind, so that the natural colourings of the vegetation are almost lost.
But first and foremost it is the richness of nuances in the ochre material itself that makes such a strong impression. I have found at least 15 different yellow and red nuances.
One day I found a specially shining yellow colour and as there was enough of it, I decided to use it to plaster the walls of the house with.
I got hold of a shovel and drove my estate car into the ochre pits. Here I shovelled as much of the ochre as possible into the car and started the trip home. However I hadn’t got very far before the car gave out a scrunching noise and dropped down on its springs.
At my next trip to the mechanic I was told that the rear shock absorbers were completely shot – “You must have been carrying something very heavy,” he said.
In future I will only collect enough ochre for my painting.
More Paintings >>HERE
Tiger 146×114 cm 1997. oil and raw pigment on canvas
The tiger is a fascinating creature.
In many cultures the tiger is a symbol of the warrior because it calls up an image of power and savagery.
It does not have the dignity of the lion, but is rather a perfidious despot who does not know mercy.
It is said that if you see a tiger in your dreams it means that you feel threatened by your own powerful animal instincts.
Sometimes you see the tiger fighting with animals from a lower class, for example with reptiles. In this case the tiger is the top ranking animal in one’s mind, in contrast to cases where it is fighting against an eagle or a lion. In the latter case it merely symbolises the angry instinct which seeks satisfaction in its fight against every superior prohibition.
The meaning of the symbols is always different depending on the creatures in the respective conflict situations.
The tiger has a sly nature. It is not blind as is a bull’s nature. The tiger is more savage than the wild dog, even though the dog is just as badly adjusted as the tiger.
The tiger’s instinct shows in its most aggressive form because the instincts go right back to the primeval forests.
The tiger’s instincts symbolise extreme inhumanity.