Barthélémy TOGUO,A Book Is My Hope, 2020, Book, net, variable dimensions
Splitting his time between Paris, France, and Bandjoun, Cameroon, Barthélémy TOGUO investigates contemporary and historical humanitarian crises and the social revolts against systematic operation. Specifically, he traces of regulated flows — of people, commodities, and resources — between the developing nations in the Global South and the West. Symbolic objects of migration populate his practice. Sometime in the 1990s, TOGUO noticed that his passport was swelling and blackened with stamps from different border controls across the world, while the passports of his European peers remained contrastingly pristine. For TOGUO, a deep preoccupation with these stamps became emblems of geopolitical restriction and oppression.
They stretch out the quintessential administrative gesture of stamping documents — emphasizing its action as a way to invert the initial connotations of the form. While the act of stamping resonates with colonial administration, its bitter history is also rooted in the branding of bodies of enslaved people. Here, TOGUO’s stamped papers, which are often presented on the walls surrounding the sculptural installation, become an orchestra for rebellion voices, revolting against dominant racist regimes. Amplifying the voices of others is not uncommon to TOGUO’s practice.