Le grand tigre rouge / The big red tiger.
114×146 cm. 1997. Oil and raw pigment on canvas.
Our village lies in an area where there are forests of evergreen oaks and box. They don’t grow very tall, 2-3 metres at most. The area is as big as Zealand with small villages here and there. They are obviously quite isolated. In the area there are many wild boars, foxes, pheasants and birds of prey. Here they live safe and sound. It is easy to hide. There is peace and quiet.
Sometimes there are many hunters in the area. Especially the wild boars attract their interest. The locals say, “If you run over a wild boar, then it’s a problem, not for the boar but for the driver.”
I know this by bitter experience.My car still smells of pig.
One night I was driving through an isolated area to get home. Quietly and peacefully. But suddenly while I was driving I saw in the headlights that there was a flock of wild boar by the side of the road. At the same moment the great flock leader started to cross the road towards the car at an enormous speed. It all happened so fast that it was impossible to brake or avoid the impact. Then the unavoidable happened. I thundered into this belligerent monster. Its head with the small shining eyes and corner teeth are etched into my memory. But luckily I only hit its rear, which flew up over the radiator and down along the side of the car. The boar was so big that its back was higher than our radiator. The whole of the car’s radiator was crumpled up. Everything happened so suddenly as in an image which had passed the retina in a series of impressions without a conscious reference.
I was paralysed by the situation.
While the boar got up and ran into the forest with the rest of the family, I still sat behind the windscreen in my car with a fervent wish that I could paint myself out of this picture.