When sculptor Ronald De Winter walked through the shopping center at the Bist in Wilrijk during the All Saints’ Day this week, he noticed that two of the four animals of his goat monument were no longer on their pedestals.
The famous animalier recently returned to Antwerp after a long stay in the south of Spain and was therefore in for a surprise. “Where did my goat and one of the goats go?”
The mystery was quickly cleared up. The two statues had come loose from the pedestal and were temporarily removed about a month and a half ago pending repairs. At Art in the City, the municipal service that manages the public art collection, they did not want to take the risk that the statues would fall off the pedestal or that a miscreant would steal them.
Wilrijk residents who can’t miss the buck and his girlfriend can consider a short walk of a kilometer or two to the northeast. Because there they can now be admired in the open-air depot of the Middelheim Museum, among the other broken statues. The creatures are between the heads of Boduognat and Baron D’Hanis, the nineteenth-century colonial with his severed arm and broken rifle butt. Frans Claessens’s three acrobats, who have stood triumphantly on each other’s shoulders at the Braembloks on Kiel since the 1950s, lie desolately next to it.
The sculpture group of four life-size goats was the winner of the design competition with the theme ‘Goat Village’. The Wilrijk district council organized this competition in 1990 on the occasion of the centenary of the local annual fair.
Ronald De Winter sculpted the group in the Wilrijk petting zoo, with farmer Karl. The artist was then allowed to temporarily install his studio on the farm, so that he could observe the animals up close. “Each of those goats at the petting zoo had a different character,” he told our newspaper. “I captured that in the image. If you can’t do that, you’re a bad sculptor.” The statue was inaugurated in 1991 during the annual fair. Art in the City cannot yet say when the repair will take place and the goat and the goat will be reunited with the two other goats.