Barcelona, Sep 22 (EFE).- Cameroonian artist Barthélémy Toguo exhibits his artistic ideas at the Picasso Museum in an exhibition of paintings, murals, sculptures, ceramics, performances and drawings, in dialogue with the work of the painter from Malaga and the building itself.
The director of the Picasso Museum, Emmanuel Guigon, underlined this Thursday the importance of Toguo’s work on the international artistic scene, “invited to biennials and major institutions around the world, and in Cameroon he has created a unique setting. , Bandjoun Station, an art center, artists’ residence and ecological agricultural project at the same time”.
Since the end of the 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 Prix Marcel Duchamp, for which he presented the installation “Vaincre le virus!” (Beat the virus!) at the Center Pompidou in Paris.
The artist admits today that when he reflected on the dialogue that modern artists have with African art, the first thing that came to mind was Picasso.
In his work, in constant metamorphosis, Toguo addresses themes that are also found in the work of Picasso and it is not by chance that the Cameroonian thought of “Guernica” when painting the work “Rwanda 1994”. , piece absent in Barcelona.
He shares with Picasso the idea that “an artist does not create works to decorate apartments, but rather with an intense political consciousness”.
Toguo also addresses questions also present in Picasso’s compositions, mainly those that refer to the representation of the human figure, the non-distinction of genres, the hybridization and continuity between the human, the animal and the the vegetable.
If there is a space in which, in essence, the two artists converge, it is in politics, because for Toguo, “political commitment is a fine example of the responsibility assumed by the artist as a to be political”.
A victim of racial discrimination, the artist himself echoes this experience in many of his works, notably in the “Transit” series, which evokes the violence of discrimination at borders and in exile.
In the preamble to the exhibition, we can see some of his performances projected in the first room, including “The Thristy Gardener”, in which the artist sprinkles a bouquet of dollars that have become the new odorless flowers of the market.
The plant world and the tree in particular constitute a recurring theme in the universe of the African artist: transformed into a “tree of death” in “Strange fruit” (2017), from which severed heads hang.
In the central room of the exhibition is presented the work created by Toguo especially for the occasion, a large fresco in which he displays his concerns: the human being in interaction with nature, plants and animals, joy to live, but also the pain of death that awaits us.
In this room, the dialogue with Picasso begins with the choice of the blue color that the native of Malaga so often repeated, associated with red, one of Toguo’s favorite colors.
The four large jugs that Toguo made especially for the exhibition evoke the themes of the mural work shown in the room, which are repeated in six round plates 1.50 meters in diameter from his “Fragile Body” series.
The most direct relationship with the artist from Malaga becomes more evident in his interpretation of “Las Meninas”, but without mimetically copying either the Velázquez series or the Picasso series.
The exhibition ends on the first floor of the museum with the series of 28 drawings of “La Comédie Animale”, a sort of collection of anthropomorphic portraits with the heads of African animals, all wearing a mask, as it was painted during confinement. , with a nod to the drawings from the book “Les Animaux” by Calder and “La Comédie Humaine” by Balzac. EFE.