2018 Inga Maren Otto Fellow, Barthélémy Toguo explores the regulated flow of people, merchandise, and resources between the developing world and the West. “Men or women are always potential exiles, driven by the urge to travel, which makes them ‘displaced beings’,” he has said. His monochromatic watercolor paintings act as a travel diary, with human-like forms transforming into animal shapes or abstract creatures—formally exploring the notion of border through the mixing of identities. There is a provocative and satirical aspect of Toguo’s practice, in which art and critique are inextricably linked. In Transit (1996), he gave a series of performances in airports and train stations, in which he disrupted transit security by carrying bags carved out of wood or wearing a cartridge belt filled with candles. For the 2015 Venice Biennale, Toguo presented Urban Requiem, an installation featuring “stamps” on the bottom of wooden human busts, examining our shared human existence from various world perspectives.
During his residency, Barthélémy Toguo will develop a new multimedia work to be exhibited at the Parrish Art Museum as part of the annual Platform exhibition, opening August 2018. While living at The Watermill Center, Toguo will absorb the local culture through newspapers and media and will explore the social issues he observes through paintings, collages and installation projects.
This project marks the inaugural collaboration between The Watermill Center and the Parrish Art Museum as part of the Inga Maren Otto Fellowship for visual artists.