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BURN BABY BURN
“Burn Baby Burn” collects a wide selection of the works realised by the Belgian born, American artist Jean Toche as a response and as a political commentary to the current US administration. All the prints presented at Artandgallery were originally postcards that Toche prepared using digitally manipulated photographic self-portraits, quotes from newspaper, TV footage and personal observations. The artist, from his house in Staten Island NYC, sends fifty copies of the postcards on a daily basis to a selected mailing list that includes artists, journalists and other public figures.
Jean Toche has been active since the seventies, when he founded the GAAG - Guerrilla Action Art Group - with Jon Hendricks and Poppy Johnson. In March 1974, the FBI has arrested him for posting some of his works that violently critiqued polices in American museums and as a consequence of the imprisonment, over three hundred artists subscribed a petition for his liberation. Jail was not the only problem he encountered: after putting bugs on the dining table during a social event organized at the Metropolitan Museum he has underwent psychiatric control, only to be found completely sane by the doctors.
The works displayed in “Burn baby burn” offer a glimpse of the process in which the single-minded political motivations of the artist become a serial, compulsive communication with the external world. Jean Toche’s choice of using only images of himself as a visual vector for his incendiary critic addresses at the politics of contemporary America and the balance between repetition and slight variations on the theme make walking through this show a charming experience. — Text: Francesco Tenaglia