BARTHELEMY TOGUO: beyond identity, across borders.
After opening his first major solo show in the United States, Barthelemy Toguo, one of the artists selected for the forthcoming Bamako Encounters, announces a series of exhibitions around the globe.
“The Pregnant Mountain”, opened on September 10 and marking the debut of Toguo with Robert Miller Gallery (New York City, NY), presents a survey of pieces made in the past decade. The work consists of photography, video, watercolor, and installation. As stated by the press release:
“Barthelemy Toguo’s work explores the universal themes of suffering, beauty, identity, pleasure and exile. Drawing from his own experience as a member of the African Diaspora in France, his work conforms to the contemporary art world’s internal vernacular idioms and brings a unique perspective to the cultural dialogue on post-colonialism. Toguo’s performance series Transits articulates the inter-subjectivity of these themes. Photographs documenting these performances are included in the exhibition. His critique is echoed in the dissonance between form and content, permitting his work to slip past our perceptual defenses. The use of “soft” materials and artistic mediums to present “hard” issues gives his messages an added layer of complexity by addressing the relationships between “distancing and dis-identification, as well as proximity and identification, of irony and laconic humor, methods of unsettling expectations and reversing proportions, the diversified application of media and differentiated modes of storytelling” (Jan-Erik Lundström, The Sick Opera. Palais de Tokyo, 2004, p. 30.).”
A large-scale installation, entitled ”The AIDS issue cannot be solved thanks to the distribution of condoms” Benedict XVI, forms the exhibition’s centerpiece. Evoking an African hospital ward, the title appropriates and re-contextualizes a statement made by Pope Benedict XVI while on his way to Cameroon in March 2009: “You can't resolve [the AIDS issue] with the distribution of condoms… On the contrary, it increases the problem.”
The Pregnant Mountain, until Oct 29.
Robert Miller Gallery
Toguo is also presenting his first lithographs at Item Editions (Paris, France), on the occasion of a very personal exhibition entitled “The World Examination”. During Spring 2009, Barthelemy Toguo stayed at Item studio in Montparnasse and created 21 new prints in collaboration with an entire team of experienced lithographers. A master of drawing, he domesticated quaternary limestones from which he created new forms merging animal-like forms with Nature.
Original works on paper will also be on show.
The World Examination, Oct 20 - Nov 28.
Finally aficionados can also see Toguo’s art in Poland: "The Crisis of the Genre", 16th Poznan International Sculpture Triennal (Oct 3 - Nov 15) www.triennale.artproduct.com.pl; in Portugal: "Road for exile", Carpe Diem Arte e Pesquisa, Lisbon (Sept 18 – Nov 7) Carpe Diem Arte e Pesquisa; in Mali: “Borders” – 8th Bamako Encounters, Bamako (Nov 7 - Dec 7); and Belgium: Persona, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren until Jan 3rd 2010.