Barthélémy Toguo

“BITTER DESTINY # 3“, 2009-2010
Installation with pit lamps / photo portraits (13 digital prints from a series of 20)

Everyday in Central Africa, African workers risk their lives in the search for a mineral that makes mobile communication possible throughout the world. Underpaid and living and working under extremely precarious conditions, these workers — mainly men — are, so to say, the pioneers of this development though profits are taken in predominantly Western businesses. Barthélémy Toguo is showing thirteen portraits of mineworkers shortly after the ending of their shift. They are shown in a dark room as a kind of homage. Visitors can visit the installation with a miners lamp on their foreheads. The translation of linguistic signs into physical experiences is a central motif in Barthélémy Toguo’s work which has developed its conceptual artistic form out of reflections on Western and African traditions.