During my years as a professor of graphic design I never used my afición for the bulls as part of a student project. Typography and poster design was not my specialty. My field was exploring the three-dimensional side of design and I had never had the opportunity to include it in my assignments. However, when one day a colleague asked for a videotape of a bullfight so his students could sketch ‘live images’ from television, I didn’t hesitate to lend him what I considered one of my best tapes, a recording from a live broadcast from Madrid by Spanish Television on June 2, 1987. It featured six beautiful and brave bulls from Felipe Bartolome with Julio Robles, Ortega Cano and Sánchez Puerto. The corrida not only had the breathtaking beauty of cape display by Robles and Ortega, but Julio also surprised the Madrid public by passing the bull on his knees, something a purist like him had never done before. If I were to show the students the intensity of a bullfight, no other tape would do. And although none of them had ever been to a corrida, the drawings they produced, matched the quality of the event that took place that afternoon in the bullring.

Some years later, a student planned a Christmas trip to Málaga and asked me about the city. I told him that I had never been there in winter, but corridas were sometimes organized on New Year’s Day. (The fact that I liked to spend my free time in a Spanish bullring had by now been accepted as a harmless quirk in my character.)

When the holiday was over, my student entered the classroom with a stiff roll of heavily starched paper under his arm. He had been lucky, there was a corrida and he and his travel companions had been to see it. After it concluded he had gone back and – as a present for me – carefully removed one of the posters, including the thick layer of earlier bills on which it was pasted.

By taking down that poster with all those layers, the student had unknowingly brought together the different layers of my existence. The poster for the corrida on the first day of the new millennium not only announced the death of six bulls in Málaga’s bullring. It was also a sad link to my mother, who died that day. Because of that special connection, it is now one of the most personal items in my collection

Crönica de : Pieter Hildering