Working across painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, performance, and installation, Barthélémy Toguo addresses enduring and immediately relevant issues of borders, exile, and displacement. At the core of his practice is the notion of belonging, which stems from his dual French/Cameroonian nationality. Through poetic, hopeful, and often figural gestures connecting nature with the human body, Toguo foregrounds concerns with both ecological and societal implications. Recently, his works have been informed by movements and humanitarian tragedy including #BlackLivesMatter and the refugee crisis. He states, “What guides me is a constantly evolving aesthetic but also a sense of ethics, which makes a difference, and structures my entire approach.”
In 2008, he founded Bandjoun Station in his native Cameroon to foster contemporary art and culture within the local community. The community center includes an exhibition space, a library, an artist residency, and an organic farm. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at institutions including Parrish Art Museum, New York; Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden; Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Etiennne, France; La Verrière by Hermès, Brussels;
Fundaçao Gulbenkian, Lisbon; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. He has been included in numerous international biennials, including the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (2018); the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2018); the Venice Biennale (2015); the Havana Biennial (2012); Biennale de Lyon, France (2011); the Sydney Biennale (2011); and Biennale de Dakar, Senegal (2018, 2016, 2000). In 2019, Toguo was included in two inaugural exhibitions held at the new Ford Foundation Gallery, New York and El Espacio 23, Miami, Florida respectively. Upcoming in 2020, Toguo will be participating in group exhibitions Global(e) Resistance, Centre Pompidou, France and Voyage Voyages, Mucem (The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations), Marseille, France. In 2011, he was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature in France. Toguo’s works are included in public collections worldwide, including Tate Modern, England; Centre Pompidou, France; Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, France; Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM); Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and MoMA, New York.
Toguo was born in M’Balmayo, Cameroon, in 1967. He currently lives and works between Paris, France and Bandjoun, Cameroon.