Barthélémy Toguo, September to December 2020
The work of Barhtélémy Toguo calls for discovery and curiosity, the artist does not stop moving freely from one technique to another: drawing, painting, ink, watercolor, engraving, sculpture, installations, videos, and performances.
This multiplication of techniques and media reflects his training and experience, which crosses cultures and countries.
Barthélémy Toguo was born in 1967 in Cameroon. After studying at the Beaux-Arts d'Abidjan and the Ecole Supérieure d'Art de Grenoble, then at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, he divides his life between Paris and Cameroon. These different training courses, coming from particular histories and territories, reveal to him the complexity of the relations between Africa and the West.
The teaching of art that Barhtélémy Toguo followed in Côte d'Ivoire refers to European culture and practices, while he later discovered in Europe a questioning of these same practices. These contradictions will nourish his research, questioning the notions of cultural references and more generally the status of the foreigner to constitute an identity.
Through his installations, the artist stages the difficulty of blending into a host culture, by diverting certain situations, he translates the complexity of approaching a new culture while bringing with you, the one from which you come.
A nomadic artist, he approaches various forms and themes in his work. "I am not an artist locked up in a medium or a subject, even if some themes come up regularly, my work draws up a universe without borders".
At the Atelier Calder, Barthélémy Toguo has explored the world of Balzac. Indeed, the writer made several stays in the Château de Saché. Barthélémy Toguo based his work on two specific texts by Balzac: A Passion in the Desert, (1830), describing the mysterious relationship created between a soldier in Bonaparte's army and a panther in an Egyptian oasis, and especially Balzac's second text entitled Voyage d'un lion d'Afrique à Paris, a caustic and parodic tale Barthélémy Toguo saw there the opportunity to translate into drawing and painting the complex relationship between man and the real and fantasized animal. At the same time, Barthélémy Toguo has chosen to integrate clay into his production in Saché: with the creation of a series of 250 bricks on which the artist has printed the text "No justice no peace stronger together" associated with a series of terracotta tiles featuring the slogan "my body my choice".