2018 #41

The Forest

by Paul Bogaers

Fascinated by photography’s overlooked potential to create dizzying optical illusions, Paul Bogaers transforms flat images and found objects into new sculptural forms.

Unseen Platform: How would you define your artistic practice?

Paul Bogaers: I was educated in a range of disciplines, and to a large extent I think this remains recognisable in my work. I’ve always considered a photo as a half-product; I feel the need to do something with it; to draw or paint on it, or to turn it around or upside down. Roughly six years ago I took a decisive step into the three-dimensional domain. It felt like a release. I seemed to have entered an entirely new territory I’d hardly explored before, and one which completely fed my needs.

Could you tell us a little more about your project, The Forest?

This series originates from a collection I started many years ago when I found an old snapshot depicting three women posing in a tree. It was a curious photo, but what triggered me, in particular, was the way these women were sitting as if it were perfectly normal to linger in a tree like that. Later, I stumbled upon more photos of people posing in trees, and I tried to exaggerate certain aspects of these already absurd scenes. I decided, for example, to elongate the tree trunks the people were sitting in, enabling me to raise the scene quite literally above viewers’ heads.

I also tried to playfully mitigate the sharp edges of the photographs by extending them with non-photographic materials. The grainy, impressionist tones of the amateur images merge surprisingly well with the crude, hand-made world of paper-mâché, coffee stains and ink splashes. The occasional attachment of real branches to the photographed scenes adds another strange illusionist twist to the work.

What does a typical day look like in your studio?

I’m a collector, so I like to surround myself with things that inspire me. It’s an essential part of my working process, which requires a large reservoir of materials upon which I can draw while working. My sources are everywhere, but never far away. I pick up abandoned objects from the street, whilst a trip to the woods never fails to provide me with branches, animal skulls or other natural materials. When I create, I try to play rather than to think. I need to have my studio brimming with what I call ‘possibilities’.

Read more (1 min read)

Photo of The Forest by Paul Bogaers

Photo of The Forest by Paul Bogaers

Photo of The Forest by Paul Bogaers

Photo of The Forest by Paul Bogaers

Paul Bogaers

Tilburg, NL


Paul Bogaers

Tilburg, NL

Fascinated by photography’s overlooked potential as a tool to create dizzying optical illusions, Paul Bogaers (b. 1961, the Netherlands) transforms two-dimensional images into new sculptural forms. His studio – packed with a trove of inspiring treasures – is the perfect playground for a markedly experimental approach to the medium. To Bogaers, a photograph is purely a means to an end. In search of a more expressive power, Bogaers sources paper, cardboard, wood, metal, fibres, glass and found objects to use. To describe this type of work, he coined the term ‘Extended Photography’.

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