Jungle Tales / Reconstructed Souvenirs

“The few times I've been anywhere near a tropical rainforest it proved to be quite so dull and violated, but in my mind it is lush, paradise-like and adventurous. Primal. The Congo, the New Guineas, the Amazon. Names that trigger ones imagination and tells stories. About its beauty and its horror, of hidden dangers and secrets. It arouses the explorer in us. I think of the adventurers, artists and scientists that have influenced our view of the rainforest. Sten Bergman, Alfred Russel Wallace, Karen Blixten, Henry Morton Stanley, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jane Goodall. Walt Disney. And to me: Jack F. Chandu, my uncle.

On this exhibition I show the remains from an expedition to the tropical rainforest or rather an image of it. Paintings, drawings and objects in papier-mâché. Waste pieces, souvenirs and reconstructions that create a picture of what we imagine is the rainforest. What I imagine is the rainforest. 

The exhibition is also a grieving process over the last remains of rainforest and of what it once was. Possibly soon those leftovers might get wasted because of war and exploitation. I‘ve made numerous expeditions to tropical greenhouses as well as ethnological and natural history museums looking for instant jungle-experiences.

My uncle Jack worked as a travelling reporter in the 60s and 70s. His trips around the world have been the starting point for this project. He organized well-attended slide shows that paid for his travels. He understood that without a good story, he wouldn’t get any audience. Small additions, major or minor changes would spice up his adventures. Each time the story is retold it alienates itself more and more from what once really happened. In the end this doesn’t matter: one can both experience and invent adventures. Most often it’s an intertwined mixture of the two.”

Tom Bogaard, Gothenburg 2016

Tom Bogaard (1965, Delft, the Netherlands) moved to Sweden in 1989 to study at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. He now lives and works in Gothenburg. This is his first exhibition at Domeij Gallery.

©  Tom Bogaard  2021

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