BARCELONA, September 22 (EFE).- Cameroonian artist Barthélemy Toguo showcased his artistic ideas at the Picasso Museum in an exhibition including paintings, murals, sculptures, ceramics, performances and drawings in conversation with the Malaga painter’s work. And the building itself.
The director of the Picasso Museum, Emmanuel Guigon, underlined the importance of Togu’s work in the international art scene this Thursday, “guest at biennials and major institutions worldwide, and in Cameroon he has created a unique installation, Bandjoun Station, a center. of art, residence of artists and at the same time ecological agriculture Project».
Since the late 1990s, his works have attracted the attention of numerous critics and curators, who have invited him to major exhibitions, and in 2016 he was one of four artists nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize, for which he presented the installation “Vaincre le virus”. !” at the Center Pompidou in Paris (beat the virus!).
The artist admits today that when he thinks about the dialogue modern artists maintain with African art, the first thing that comes to mind is Picasso.
In his work, in constant transformation, Toguo works with themes that are also found in the works of Picasso and it was not by chance that the Cameroonians thought of “Guernica” when painting the work of “Rwanda 1994”, a piece missing in Barcelona.
He shares with Picasso the idea that “an artist does not create work to decorate an apartment, but with an intense political consciousness”.
Toguo also addresses issues present in Picasso’s works, mainly those that refer to the representation of the human figure, the non-differentiation of gender, hybridization, and the continuum between human, animal, and plant.
If there is a place where, in essence, both artists come together, it is in politics, because for Togu, “political commitment is a great example of the responsibility assumed by the artist as a political person”.
A victim of racial discrimination, the artist himself echoes that experience in many of his works, particularly in the “Transit” series, which evokes the violence of discrimination at the border and in the diaspora.
As a prelude to the exhibition, some of his works can be seen projected in the first room, including “The Thirsty Gardener,” in which the artist waters bouquets of dollars that have become the new odorless flowers in the market.
The plant world and trees form a recurring theme in the universe of the African artist in particular: “Strange Fruit” (2017) turns into a “death tree”, from which a severed head hangs.
In the exhibition’s central room, work created by Togu especially for the event is shown, a large mural in which he displays his concerns: humans interacting with nature, plants and animals, the joy of living, but also the pain of death that awaits us.
In this room, the conversation with Picasso begins with the choice of blue that the Malaga locals have repeated over and over again, combined with red, one of Togu’s favorite colors.
The four large jugs that Toguo created especially for the exhibition evoke the themes of the mural works shown in the room, which are repeated in six 1.50-meter-diameter circular plates from his “Fragile Bodies” series.
The most direct relationship with the Málaga artist becomes more apparent in his interpretation of “Las Meninas,” though without imitating the Velázquez series or the Picasso series.
The exhibition closes on the first floor of the museum with a series of 28 drawings of “The Animal Comedy”, a collection of anthropomorphic portraits with African animal heads, all wearing masks, as painted in captivity, along with Calder’s “Animals” and Balzac’s “The Human Comedy”. ” Glance at the drawing in the book. EFE.