Barthélémy Toguo was born in Mbalmayo in Cameroon in 1967. Between 1989 and 1993 he studied art, first at the École des Beaux-Arts in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) then in Grenoble (France), and finally at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (Germany) where notable encounters included Tony Cragg, Jannis Kounellis and Konrad Klapheck. Although he stayed in Europe and became a French citizen, Barthélémy Toguo remained profoundly attached to Cameroon, and he regularly returns to the country. That is where he created Bandjoun Station, a foundation inaugurated in 2013 with the aim of hosting artists and academics from around the world in residential workshops, to develop propositions in harmony with the local population. This is how he talks about it: “My idea with Bandjoun Station was to combine classic African art and global contemporary art, to exhibit these works in the same space, without ghettoization or a hierarchy of values. That way Bandjoun Station will become a crossroads, a point of contact between classic and contemporary art.” This “laboratory without borders” exhibits a permanent collection of contemporary works gathered by the artist thanks to exchanges with his peers and collectors. He also develops agricultural projects there, in a spirit of healthy and sustainable development.
Since the end of the 1990s, his works have been noticed by many critics and curators who have invited him to participate in major events: Hans Ulrich Obrist in 1999 for Migrateurs (ARC, Paris), Jean-Hubert Martin in 2000 for Partage d’éxotismes (Biennale de Lyon), Pierre Restany in 2001 for Political Ecology (White Box, New York), and Okwui Enwezor in 2015 for the Venice Biennal, All the World’s Future. In 2016, Barthélémy Toguo was one of four artists nominated for The Marcel Duchamp Prize and for this occasion he presented the installation Vaincre le virus! at the Centre Pompidou. In 2018, a personal exhibition The Beauty of our Voice, was held at the Parrish Art Museum in New York. Barthélémy Toguo presented in 2021 a personal exhibition at the Quai Branly-Musée Jacques Chirac, Désir d'Humanité. In 2022 he presented at the Biennale of Sydney a 10 meters long ink on canvas entitled The Generous Water Giant. That same year, Toguo was invited to produce a large scale installation under the Louvre pyramid.
The works of Barthélémy Toguo are present in many collections including those of the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Paris), the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Miami), the Perez Art Museum (Miami), the Chazen Museum of Art (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA), the Parrish Art Museum (Water Mill, USA), the Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris), the Collection Agnès b. (Paris) and Bandjoun Station (Bandjoun). A recent commission was placed with the artist for four over-doors at the Rodin Museum (Paris).