Opening: Friday, 21 September 2018 | 6 – 9 PM
Exhibition continues: 22 September – 30 November 2018
Robert Grunenberg Berlin
Marburger Strasse 3, 10789 Berlin
In his first-ever solo exhibition at a German gallery, this Cameroonian artist undertakes a critical examination of the today’s political climate around the world, as well as the psychological implications of the human condition. The exhibition will include historical key works dating back to 1999, as well as brand new works.
Addressing social and environmental issues, his works are fueled by his personal experiences as an African in Europe. His studies of urgent challenges such as discrimination, alienation, and cross-border relations transcend cultural distinctions. Besides installations encompassing photography, performance, and video art, he integrates enigmatic watercolors into his output that figure as poetic vessels of hope amid the social and political critique his oeuvre articulates. Like his other works, they are based on a probing engagement with cultural realities. Fraught will allegorical significance derived from indigenous myths and rituals, they inquire into the foundations of human existence and dare to envision the body’s inward psyche.
The large-format drawings on paper, many of them mounted on canvas backing, unfold fantasies of a human and vegetative metamorphosis and create a living symbiosis between man and nature. The translucent watercolors convey an expression of vigor as well as fragility, its form spreading graphically across the white and strangely cathartic paper. Proliferating entrails, as vital as they are brutal, grow out of the human body and explode physical as well as mental boundaries. Man’s existence appears grotesque and sublime at once as he is both deformed and enhanced.
About the Artist
Barthélémy Toguo was born in 1967 in Cameroon and lives between Paris and Bandjoun. He trained at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; the École Supérieure d’Art in Grenoble, France; and the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, Germany. He founded Bandjoun Station, a centre for artistic exchange between local and international artists featuring residencies, an exhibition space, a library and plantations in Bandjoun, Cameroon, in 2007.
Solo shows have taken place at institutions including the Parrish Art Museum, New York; Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden; Musée d’art contemporain de Sainte Etiennne, France; La Verrière by Hermès, Brussels, Belgium and Fundaçao Gulbenkian, Lisbon. Notable group shows include Paris 7th Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan (2018); Homo Planta at Fondation Blachère (2018); The Red Hour, the 13th Dakar Biennale (2018); Art/ Afrique, le nouvel atelier at Fondation Louis Vuitton (2017); All The World’s Futures at the Venice Biennale (2015); Body Language at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2013); La Triennale: Intense Proximity, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); the 11th Havana Biennial (2012); A terrible beauty is born, 11th Biennale de Lyon, France; the 18th Sydney Biennale (2011); and Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London (2008).
In 2011, Toguo was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature in France. He was shortlisted for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2016. His work is in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Musée d’art contemporain, Lyon; Fondation Louis Vuitton; and Kunstsammlung der Stadt, Düsseldorf, among others.