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Barthélémy Toguo at La Verrière

The Well Water

Trained in Abidjan, Grenoble and Düsseldorf, French-Cameroonian artist Barthélémy Toguo is the author of a universally-accessible body of work, with a strong social dimension - as witnessed in his new installation for late 2011 at La Verrière, in Brussels.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Barthélémy Toguo at La Verrière
© Fabien de Cugnac, 2012

Guest artist Barthélémy Toguo brings a colourful, figurative, socially committed installation to La Verrière. The space is filled with seventy coloured barrels and twelve ladders in carved wood. The barrels evoke the importance of water as a crucial, life-or-death issue for Africa; the ladders – a frequent feature in Toguo’s installations – were carved in Cameroon, symbolizing the potential for advancement through knowledge, and the dream of social, economic and cultural development: causes of which Toguo is an energetic supporter.

Barthélémy Toguo’s works are characterized by their ‘deeply moving social awareness and commitment’ says Alice Morgaine, art director at La Verrière. Born in Cameroon in 1967, Toguo is the founder of Bandjoun Station, a creative space for artistic exchange and residencies in his home country, open to all and taking a grass-roots approach, engaging with local realities and the agricultural community. Toguo’s work reflects many aspects of the Foundation’s work, in support of new creative art, the transmission of traditonal knowledge and craft skills, and the environment.

To open the installation, Toguo has devised a performance, Shower Life, evoking the same core issues. Barthélémy Toguo is a familiar figure at international art biennales and events. Highlights for 2011 include a series of vases commissioned by the Manufacture de Sèvres and an exhibition at the Lyon Biennale.

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