MICHELE TOCCA | REPOUSSOIR: Curated by Elena Volpato | GAM, Torino

z2o Sara Zanin and the GAM-Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino are happy to announce Michele Tocca's exhibition curated by Elena Volpato, Repoussoir, the winning project of PAC2021 - Plan for Contemporary Art, promoted by the General Directorate for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of Culture. 
The exhibition stems from GAM of Turin's desire to acquire a group of works by Michele Tocca (Subiaco, 1983), a painter capable of posing himself to the observation of the world with the immediacy of an inner firt-timeness: with the candor of a gaze that knows how to see everything as if it was the first time, yet cultivates a profound knowledge of the mechanisms of vision, the structures of thought and the legacies that art has handed down to us. This ability of hers to be wholly in the present instant, to feel the motif at the imprint and, at the same time, to see herself seen, to oversee her every decision, to "forget by heart" in her own acts the pictorial matrices that belong to past centuries, led to imagining an exhibition that could hold together these two tensions made up of present-day directness and knowledge of history.
A few, thoughtful, small-scale pictorial studies, made directly on nature by artists such as Antonio Fontanesi, Massimo d'Azeglio and Giovanni Battista De Gubernatis, have been taken from GAM's nineteenth-century collection and arranged high on the walls, as if they were ideal notes, while Michele Tocca's pictorial series flow along the line of vision. Even a chromatic distinction separates on the wall the painting of the present from that of the nineteenth century, just as in the artist's mind, sometimes, a more or less intense tinge of color, the slightly closer perspective on the object or the more or less pushed synthesis of a brushstroke, separates his own doing from the living memory of what the plenairists were discovering between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, giving rise to real revolutions of the gaze and the emergence of historical awareness of the landscape.
Repoussoir is the title of a work in the exhibition by Michele Tocca, also part of the acquisition that GAM made thanks to the PAC2021 call. The term repoussoir belongs to the history of landscape painting. It indicates an element placed in the foreground for the purpose of constituting an obstacle, a frame, a backdrop to open vision. It is an obstacle that raises the gaze in depth, determines its trajectory toward the visual focus of the painting.
Tocca's entire painting can be read through the visual mechanism of repoussoir: everything that is seemingly marginal, everything that stands apart from what we expect to find at the center of attention, acquires full prominence and new meaning in his works. The series of his Painter's Rain Jackets, for example, placed to dry after a day of painting outdoors, represent nothing more than simple accessories, yet they are self-portraits, painted by the weather elements, by raindrops, no less than by the inevitable specks of oil paint that fell during the work. They have the power of self-portraits and are so, in equal measure, of the painter who wears them and the landscape that imbues them. Michele Tocca by portraying his own work jacket from behind makes of himself a repoussoir, a device of pictorial vision, and of his work a reflection on the physical and metaphorical "actuality" between painting and phenomena.
This exhibition intends, once again, to affirm the full continuity between the history of art and its present-day paths, in a trammel of meanings, thoughts and techniques that only museums such as the GAM of Turin have the ability to recount, continuing to graft onto the solid trunk of its collections the narrative of the present.
Michele Tocca, Repoussoir
Curated by Elena Volpato
Opening: Wednesday June 21, 2023 | h.6pm
June 22 > November 5, 2023
GAM - Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino
Via Magenta 31, 10129 Torino - Italia
Telephone: 011 442 9518
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday from 10 am to 6pm (Monday closed)