What colour are the tiger’s stripes?

Ole Lindboe

About U.C.’s paintings.

In the Danish art world of the 1970s it seemed as if everyone was waiting for something new to happen. The Eks-school was foundering, Fluxus was clamouring on the side-lines. The Passepartout generation was cultivating their spiritual nooks and crannies and Pop Art was in its hectic period. Modern art pointed in all directions at once. Painting had become in the eyes of many a very tired affair.

But then the artist group Violet Sun turned up. Like an explosion it cleared the front pages like any newspaper scoop. With a devil-may-care, coloristic and seductive form of Neo-impressionism. With a spontaneous and energetic love of painting which had not been seen since the Cobra painters turned everything upside-down.

One of the front figures of Violet Sun was undoubtedly Uffe Christoffersen. He became especially well-known for his tiger paintings. Towards the end of the 80s Violet Sun pulled the plug – to the disappointment of some, and its members disappeared, in the cae of several, into the wings. But not Uffe Christoffersen. He carried on and followed his “cause” with a continued, sparkling enthusiasm.

It is as if he cannot stop painting. And he paints with what is obviously a gay abandon, of a kind which is seldom seen in art. He still paints tigers – in all colours and with all kinds of stripes. A nagging thought pops up when one looks closer at his pictures: maybe it isn’t the tiger which is the main subject (even though the symbolism is very precise). Maybe it is quite simply the colours themselves which are Uffe Christoffersen’s main motif?

Presumably he can easily live with this kind of suspicion. For it is precisely in the colours and their contrasts that his pictures become the most savage and vivid thing to be seen in today’s painting. One can constantly be surprised that every time he paints a tiger, it is like the first time. Raw, spontaneous and with a depth of colour so sensuous as if the picture had been created under Africa’s hottest jungle sun.

As now can be seen in his latest series of pictures delivered to Anette Birch in Bredgade. Red, green, blue, orange, ochre yellow and so on, – tigers who roar with colour. Every single one of these new pictures virtually shimmers on the canvas like a force which is untameable. A picture by Uffe Christoffersen is wound tight as a clock spring, as if the colours were caught on canvas just before a violent movement. Everything is ready to pounce – snarling and snapping. The tiger as a metaphor for the savagery which is at the heart of nature. The untameable. The terrible delight.

A painting by Uffe Christoffersen is a full frontal attack on all of one’s senses. Beautiful and terrible at the same time. They are not pictures to turn one’s back on.

What colour are the tiger’s stripes? See for yourself!