Monday, 6 June 2016

World Water Joy : A Work in Progress - Participating Artist - Barthélémy Toguo

BATHELEMY TOGUO
Various paintings - Le Déluge
Watercolors
Various dimensions


"How could I not be touched by the situations of distress that our world faces today? We are now in a time where the climate is disrupted, where natural disasters are amplified by the careless and disastrous management of the earth, and by the risks taken with energy sources. Mother Nature is mistreated everywhere. Moreover, rampant terrorism in many regions plunges us into situations increasingly tragic, tragically exposed by the media worldwide.  In short, "Le Déluge" (The Flood) is almost everywhere: hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, massacres, war, exile, shipwrecks, borders that close. "Le Déluge", the idea of annihilation by an unleashing of the elements of divine punishment due to committed sins, followed afterwards by a rebirth appears in the founding myths of almost all human civilizations. Many artists have faced this theme over the centuries and I think it's time for me now to discuss in my work and through this exhibition, nowadays deluges. (…) "
                              Barthélémy Toguo



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Barthélémy Toguo was born in 1967 in M’Balmayo, Cameroon. In 1989, after his primary and secondary schooling in Edéa and Sangmélima, he went to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where he received an academic education in drawing and sculpture. He then attended the Ecole Supérieure d’Art in Grenoble, France from 1993, where he discovered contemporary art and was exposed to more experimental practices.  The third and final stage of his artistic training took place from 1998 in the prestigious Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf where he was taught by Fritz Schwegler and Klaus Rinke. He also met Tony Cragg, Jannis Kounellis and Konrad Klapheck there.

His first exhibitions were held in France, Germany and Africa (the Goethe Institut of Yaoundé and Abidjan). Although he lives in Europe and has become a French citizen, Toguo maintains strong roots with Cameroon and returns there regularly. In 2004 he created Bandjoun Station, which was inaugurated in 2013. It is a foundation designed to welcome artists and researchers-in-residence from around the world, who are there to develop proposals in harmony with the local community. The foundation presents a permanent collection of works gathered by the artist thanks to exchanges with his fellow artists and collectors.  He has also organised agricultural projects there, in a spirit of healthy and sustainable development.

From the end of the 1990s, the works of Barthélémy Toguo were noticed by a number of critics and curators who invited him to attend major events. These included Hans Ulrich Obrist in 1999 for “Migrateurs” (ARC, Paris), Jean-Hubert Martin in 2000 for “Partage d’exotismes” (Lyon Biennial) and Pierre Restany in 2001 for “Political Ecology” (White Box, New York).

Barthélémy Toguo thus became a globe-trotting artist, participating in a number of biennial and triennial events throughout the world. He constantly extended the range and dimension of his creations, using photography, video, installations, printing, performance, and producing works that very freely blend multiple techniques. He developed a number of series such as “Transit” and “Purification”, and sculpted wooden “stamps” where he registered the noise and fury of the world that he then printed on paper; these became his signature works. He also initiated a long-running project called “Head above Water” that led him to work in places where a violent conflict or massacre had occurred, encouraging the local populations who had experienced it to react to it (Pristina, Hiroshima, Rwanda, and Johannesburg… next in Armenia).

Barthélémy Toguo is not an artist locked inside an ivory tower; his work reflects his concerns about the development of his country, his continent and the Earth as a whole. Re-examining the current turbulences in the world through his imagination as well as through the ancient myths that he updates, mixes and clashes together, he offers works that he hopes will able to speak to all of humanity.

In 2015, Barthélémy Toguo has been invited by Okwui Enwezor to participated to the 56th Venice Biennale. In 2016, the artist is part of the four nominees for the Prix Marcel Duchamp, and will therefore exhibit at the Centre Pompidou for four months.




In 2015, Barthélémy Toguo has been invited by Okwui Enwezor to participated to the 56th Venice Biennale. In 2016, the artist is part of the four nominees for the Prix Marcel Duchamp, and will therefore exhibit at the Centre Pompidou for four months.

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