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Barthélémy Toguo

From 23 September 2022 to 26 February 2023

Barthélémy Toguo a la exposición 'Strange Fruit', Galerie Lelong & Co., París, 12.10.2017. Fotografía de Fabrice Gibert

The importance of the work of Barthélémy Toguo (Mbalmayo, Republic of Cameroon, 1967) on the international scene is evident. He has been invited to biennials and large museum institutions around the world, while in Cameroon he has created a unique place, the Bandjoun Station art centre, which is both an artist residence and ecological agriculture project.

Since the late 1990s, his work has drawn the attention of many critics and conservators, who have invited him to major exhibits. In 2016, Barthélémy Toguo was one of the four artists nominated for the Marcel Duchamp prize, on the occasion of which he presented the installation Vaincre le virus! [Vanquish the Virus!] at Centre Pompidou in Paris.

In perpetual rebellion against the dysfunctionalities of the world, many of his pieces address migration and exile. Nature, another of Toguo’s favoured subjects, appears for example in the series Homo planta, which reflects his desire for man to cohabit with nature in harmony. The work of Barthélémy Toguo thus oscillates between denouncing inequality and celebrating life, nature and the body.

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    When Barthélémy Toguo thinks of the dialogue of modern artists with African art, the first one that comes to mind is Picasso. Beyond pastiche or the imitation of specific motifs, Toguo questions representations of Africa in its relationship with the West from a new perspective. In his work, in constant metamorphosis and charged with numerous desires and intensities, he takes on subjects that are also present in Picasso’s work. As someone who thought of Guernica when he painted the work Rwanda 1994, he shares with Picasso the idea of the artist who does not make art to decorate apartments, dedicating his creation instead to expressing intense political awareness.