Association and suggestion play an important role in the work of visual artist and photographer Paul Bogaers (Tilburg, The Netherlands, 1961). In his combination of photographs – his own as well as found snapshots, postcards and other pre-existing images – he invites the viewer to perceive surprising new links and meanings. Equally in Bogaers’ individual photographs, associations are being revealed that generally remain unnoticed behind the façade of the common and insignificant.
Combination (of images, texts, objects) is a central theme throughout the work of Paul Bogaers. He can be considered as one of the forerunners of the present interest of photographers in ‘vernacular photography’ and integration of found imagery in their work.
In addition to his photographic work, Paul Bogaers is also active as a writer. He specialises in the collage method: his texts arise from the combination of existing sentences, which he collects from the most diverse sources. In this field as well, Bogaers is fascinated by the possibilities of combining ‘used’ materials into something completely new.
So far, this method has resulted in the novels Tropenwee (Tropical Woe, 1992), Onderlangs (Down Below, 2007), and further to publications in various literary magazines and several catalogue texts. These are nearly all in Dutch, but in 2010 he also wrote a ‘catalogue text’ for his book Upset Down in English, making use of originally English text sources.
Paul Bogaers made a name in photography, but he is to be considered more an artist than a photographer. To Bogaers, a photo is not an end, only a means. It is not an endpoint either. Often he feels the need to extend it: place it next to another image, turn it for a quarter or completely upside down. Draw or paint on it, frame it in a particular and often uncommon way.
Bogaers’ most recent works are even expanding to the dimensional domain, turning more and more into assemblages and installations. Searching for expressive power, Bogaers extends his photos with paper, cardboard, wood, metal, fibers, glass and found objects. Sometimes he even abandons the photographic medium completely. Pure objects remain. Yet this derives from his same old fascination, the collage method, that brings together parts from different worlds into one new image that has never been seen before.