Parrish Art: Platform Exhibit w/ Multi-Disciplinary Artist Toguo / Aug 5 – Oct 14





New paintings, sculpture, installation, photography, performance,
and a community art project will be on view August 5 – October 14 

Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroonian, born 1967), Road to Exile, 2009. Carpe Diem Arte e Pesquisa, Palace of Marquis de Pombal, Lisbon, Portugal.

The Parrish Art Museum presents Barthélémy Toguo: The Beauty of Our Voice,  the 2018 Platform exhibition featuring the internationally renowned artist whose multi-disciplinary work addresses issues of migration, mobility, colonialism, race, and the relationship between the global north and south. On view at the Museum from August 5 – October 14, 2018, the exhibition features new watercolor paintings, sculpture, installation, photography, performance, and a community art project. The Beauty of Our Voice is the first solo exhibition in an American museum by Toguo (Cameroon, b. 1967), following a tour-de-force at international biennials including Venice, Havana, and Sydney, as well as this year’s Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in Japan.

“Barthélémy Toguo is very much an artist of his time who moves between cultures and identities, and as such absorbs the ailments of our world to create strong and uncompromising work that ultimately points toward our common humanity. As an African living in Paris who has recently spent more time in the United States, he has created work for the Parrish that reflects interconnected histories,” said Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects. “I am thankful for our new partnership with The Watermill Center, which allowed Barthélémy to immerse himself into the Hamptons to create his work.”

Barthélémy Toguo: The Beauty of Our Voice features existing work as well as work created during Toguo’s residency in June at The Watermill Center where he was invited as the 2018 Inga Maren Otto Fellow. The unique new collaboration between Watermill and the Parrish supports the Platform mission to present process-based projects that transcend disciplinary boundaries, encouraging new ways to experience art, architecture, and the landscape.


Road to Exile

The centerpiece of The Beauty of Our Voice is Road to Exile—a monumental installation that addresses the migrant and refugee crisis, specifically, the desire of young Africans to escape in hopes of a better life. Road to Exile is a life-size boat that Toguo built at Watermill, heavily laden with bags made from African fabrics and placed on the precarious surface of glass bottles, evoking the danger of a journey that not all survive. Installed in one of the largest galleries at the Parrish, Road to Exile will be surrounded by drawings, etchings, and paintings from the Parrish collection that depict boats in various settings and eras. The juxtaposition of Toguo’s Road to Exile with these works, which largely celebrate sea travel, exploration, and commerce, reveals the stark contrasts and ambiguous history of seafaring. Toguo initiated Road to Exile for the National Museum of Immigration in Paris in 2008 and has since created multiple versions for institutions worldwide.


Mobile Cafeteria

Toguo is transforming an entire gallery at the Museum for Mobile Cafeteria, a participatory installation inspired by African street cafés. At once playful and educational, Mobile Cafeteria is a space for visitors to reflect on the economic, social, and cultural relationships between the global north and south, as well as its imbalances and possible transformations. Toguo built furniture for the space, where visitors are invited to play African board games and watch recorded African soccer games while learning about Bandjoun Station, a center for culture, art, education, and agriculture founded by the artist in his native Cameroon.

Mobile Cafeteria also serves as a gallery for Toguo’s artwork that explores the socio-political issues in Africa and America as well as their historical correlation. Three nearly life-size staged photographs from his 2005/2008 series Stupid African President, featuring the artist posing as African politicians, will be on view: Speech, Afrika Oil?, and Forest Destruction.

Toguo’s new series of pencil drawings on canvas, Black Lives Matter, depicts African Americans killed recently in the United States by members of police forces. Two wooden guns suspended by metal chains are aimed at portraits of Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher, Tyre King, Trayvon Martin, Keith Scott, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, and Christian Taylor. Mobile Cafeteria will also feature large-scale and several smaller paintings that Toguo created at Watermill. Painted predominantly in olive green watercolor ink, the paintings depict human-like forms morphing into animal shapes or abstract creatures, erasing the separation between humans and nature.


Head Above Water—Hamptons

Toguo engaged nearly 100 Hamptons residents for his ongoing, worldwide community art project Head Above Water, created to provide an international platform for everyday people by bringing their voices into museum spaces. Since 2004, the artist has asked people living in challenging socio-political situations to write something about their lives, dreams, and hopes on a postcard addressed to him. For Head Above Water—Hamptons, Parrish and Watermill educators met with young adults from area schools and the Shinnecock Indian Nation who were asked to answer the question, “Where do I fit in, in American society?” Toguo provided postcards printed with his original artwork of a horse head, an iconic image that evokes Native Americans and freedom, as well as wealth and imperialism. The 96 framed postcards will be on view in the Museum’s spine gallery, alongside postcards from Lagos (2005) and Mexico (2008).

The opening reception on August 4 will feature Toguo and performance artist Nèfta Poetry from Guadalupe in a special performance that starts in the Museum’s Lichtenstein Theater and moves through the galleries to Road to Exile. Later in the reception, as part of Mobile Cafeteria, Toguo will serve Bandjoun coffee, which will be available for sale in the Museum store.


Barthélémy Toguo

Barthélémy Toguo addressed issues of global social and cultural turmoil with the site-specific installation Urban Requiem presented at the 2015 Venice Biennial. The artist often inserts himself into his work, as in Stupid African President (2005-2008) and the performance piece, Torture in Guantanamo (2006), presented in The Unhomely, 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville, Spain. In 2007 Toguo founded Bandjoun Station, an international center for artistic exchange that reflects the artist’s commitment to self-determination by Africans to set their own prices for agricultural products and artwork.

Toguo’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Musée d’art contemporain, Lyon; Fondation Louis Vuitton; and Kunstsammlungen der Stadt, Düsseldorf, among others. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at institutions including Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden; Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Etiennne, France; La Verrière by Hermès, Brussels; Fundaçao Gulbenkian, Lisbon; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Notable group shows include EchigoTsumari Art Triennale  (2018); Art/ Afrique, le nouvel atelier at Fondation Louis Vuitton (2017); All The World’s Futures at the Venice Biennale (2015); Body Language at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2013); La Triennale: Intense Proximity, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); the 11th Havana Biennial (2012); A terrible beauty is born, 11th Biennale de Lyon, France; the 18th Sydney Biennale (2011); and Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London (2008). His large-scale painting Rwanda was included in the 2018 Art Basel UNLIMITED Sector.

Toguo was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature in France in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2016. 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.  The artist currently lives between Paris and Bandjoun, Cameroon.

Platform: Barthélémy Toguo: The Beauty of Our Voice is made possible, in part, by the generous support of The Dorothy Lichtenstein ArtsReach Fund, established by Agnes Gund; Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris; Burger Collection, Hong Kong; Andrea Kerzner; the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States; and CRUSHCURATORIAL.


Photo: © Barthélémy Toguo / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris & Bandjoun Station Cameroon


Inspired by the natural setting and artistic life of Long Island’s East End, the Parrish Art Museum illuminates the creative process and how art and artists transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it. The Museum fosters connections among individuals, art, and artists through care and interpretation of the collection, presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, programs, and artists-in residence. The Parrish is a center for cultural engagement, an inspiration and destination for the region, the nation, and the world.


The Watermill Center 


Founded by avant-garde visionary Robert Wilson in 1992, The Watermill Center is an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts supporting young and emerging artists through its year-round Artist Residency Program and International Summer Program, as well as Education Programs, exhibitions and events open to the public. The Watermill Center offers tours throughout the year of its 20,000+ square-foot building, which houses a library and a significant 



AAQ Resource: Austin Patterson Disston Architects


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