Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is pleased to present a new installation for The Box by Cameroonian, Paris-based artist Barthélémy Toguo. Continuing his ongoing exploration into the social implications of border control, Toguo’s work in The Box relates directly to the wooden stamps which feature in his monumental installation currently being shown in Okwui Enwezor's All the World’s Futures at the 56th Venice Biennale 2015.
Toguo began working with giant wooden blocks in 2000, drawing upon his experience of border control from travelling to numerous countries around the world. Interpreting the meaning of various stamps that had been made in his passport by custom authorities, the artist wanted to register the feeling of dehumanisation from each country’s use of clinical, administrative language to try and categorise his multi-cultural identity.
By carving his own wooden block, Toguo serves to exploit the authoritative act of stamping by imbuing it with his own voice, subsequently bringing attention to those who face prejudice everyday. Using old printing techniques, the backwards arrangement of the letters in Migrant allows for a reverse impression to be made when black ink is applied and stamped onto paper, whilst also acknowledging the skewed interpretation often branded onto those different from ourselves.
Barthélémy Toguo was born in 1967 in Cameroon and lives between Paris and Bandjoun. He trained at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; the École Supérieure d'Art in Grenoble, France; and the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2011, Toguo was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature in France.
Toguo’s numerous solo exhibitions include those at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Musée d'art contemporain de Sainte Étienne; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle; Fundaçao Gulbenkian, Lisbon and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Toguo’s work is held in numerous international collections including Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; MoMA, New York; MOCA, Miami; Studio Museum, New York; Musée d'art contemporain, Lyon and DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens.