Gianluca Marziani

Gianluca Marziani - Roxy In the Box

Art critic and curator. Director of  Museum Palazzo Collicola Arti visive.


The past and the present intertwine with soft breaks in their continuity. Visions and writings ready to weave themselves around a character playing a serious game with the concepts of space and time, memories and the future, and, truth and fiction. Her name is Roxy. Roxy in the box. A pseudonym adopted for her artistic work, but also in the name of art, in art, through the liturgical phrasing of those aspects of daily life which strike her the most. Italian, yet, at the same time, Neapolitan, especially Neapolitan, because in this city, the mere act of living here means belonging here, in a mix of symbiosis and neurosis within the colourful hues of creative infidelity. It is everything and yet contains the opposite of it all, beauty incorporating the absurd, tears transformed into laughter and vice versa. Life viewed as the theatre, as the cinema, as television; life, more than anything else, life in a design form, a synthesis of expressive models in which the forms speak different languages but with common idioms.

YESTERDAY (this is what I wrote). Bodies with uncontrolled designations, registered trade names recording all the fetishist chaos, super-pop scenes between social roles and the multiplication of identities … Roxy in the Box glides along supermarket shelves, in bathroom cabinets, in front of kitchen shelves, inside bulging drawers and chests of drawers and boxes and small cases which reveal evocative scenarios in the wings. Above all, however, she glides along the bookcases of neurosis, through the gnarled spaces of solitude, those shadowy places of innermost anxiety, frequently unveiled by an invisible mirror which filters and completely changes the creative stories. Roxy’s universe is colourful,  fetishist, impossible to circumscribe in a single language.  An eclectic, darting rainbow-like place piercing barely calmed storms. The artist uses, only to overturn them for her own purposes, Nutella, Soflan, Active Tabs, KitKat and other products which denote the idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, twitches and passions of a person who walks softly in the midst of urban madness. We envisage her faced with the many brands which become the story of a person, their identifying stamp, the anomalous confessional of private events discovered bit by bit, one moment at a time. Each project is thus transformed into a visual tale where painting is linked to other elements which vary according to specific needs. Pictorial paintings, light-boxes, installation objects, genuine fragments, costumes, music: multiple visions to encapsulate the personality of each character, providing the attire and context most appropriate to each protagonist in the stage.

TODAY. I’ve known Roxy since 2004 and immediately appreciated her transverse curvature,  that touch of creative tailoring which blends personality with style, in the manner of a hyper-pop visionary approach, with results characteristic of a cynical yet ironic artist, penetrating and perhaps a bit of a tyrant (at least with herself). Talented and consistent, visionary and clairvoyant, always running the fine line between true stories and the absurdity of television but with that special theatrical lighting and the physical phrasing of a performance. This, ladies and gentlemen, can be none other than Roxy.  For those who follow her, without pursuing her, Roxy in The Box.

YESTERDAY. Roxy is simply like that: mysterious and radical, complex beyond the mere appearance of brands and bodies. In a flash, she identifies mimetically with the products she selects and re-elaborates. She works her way into their social notoriety, only to turn them up-side-down with a cynical and spectacular attention-seeking attitude that is the result of her keen intelligence and visual intuition, sensual irony but also an in-depth culture of our increasingly pop imagination.

TODAY. Early in the article, I mentioned Naples and the visceral ties to this city which are a state of mind, the spirit of a polyphonic and rarely imitable beat. The capital of the Campania Region has the aura of metropolis genetic by nature. It belongs to the world by virtue of its history and mentality and thrives on excess and contrasts like no other place in Italy. The sum of everything known can be found in its urban planetarium, but often in absurd forms that are extremely difficult to understand if one is only superficially acquainted with the city. Beneath the Neapolitan language and physicality, lies the workshop of short-circuits. In very few other places does the truly base come so close to the truly elevated, or the crude violence leave way for the colours of magic. Roxy, after all, tells us about the most intimate spirit of a Naples, that is nature and culture, civilization and uncivilized behaviour, all in the space of a few centimetres. The city allows us to discover both melodic sounds and the noise of a toilet, both pistol shots and waves crashing against the rocks, the whiffs of both sewers and sublime fried foods. Its various, different souls might well bear the title of a recent literary masterpiece : “Hanno tutti ragione” (They are all quite right) , written by the brilliantly talented, Paolo Sorrentino who has added to his activity as a film director the “heretic post scriptum of a perfect, extreme  novel, a dialectic laboratory of constant urban (and, therefore, human) short-circuits. Roxy’s characters, too, are based on centrality, no-one takes energy away from the others and each seems to be fully in the right. Reasoning and reason within Naples, beyond the city, in support of a gust of creativity and the right archetypes. A narrative journey in which the artist gives movement, appearance, voice, song and context to her special friends. As with any other voyage to an unknown destination, not lacking in risks regarding the interpretation of what lies beyond the obvious, the complexity beyond synthesis.

TODAY. I am writing about creative infidelity for a precise reason: Roxy vies with her many alter egos and impersonates them to the full, giving herself heart and soul to human inventions which change into animated icons. A brief, but totally intense monogram. A healthily treacherous performer who models herself on the newest arrival, shifting the various languages (let us not forget the concise and colourful patterns of her paintings) towards the  physiognomic interest of the moment.

YESTERDAY. Her visions howl harmonious melancholy and release languid colours. Her body strews itself between an excessive self and the alter-egos of infinite multiplication in the world of the possible. The actions and still-images loom over the on-looker with all the natural, splendid ambiguity of a story which moves us with its gritty sentiments. No compromise regarding her own truths and need to survive. Colour becomes resistance, figuration becomes resistance, imagination becomes resistance. A battle in which someone might feel less alone and equally coloured.

TODAY. Roxy overturns the popular culture of mainstream television with highly communicative, mimetic passages. In just a few words, her approach is modelled on the basic language of the media code, simulating mechanisms similar to those which govern “live nothing” programmes. Roxy acts with evident aesthetic intuition and conceptual awareness creating an aura of marked figurative “sacredness”. She goes beyond the base code through a historical understanding of the elevated codes, avoiding those marked references to the work of other artists which do not contribute to the cultural evolution of Pop. If one can still speak of the long tail of pop, it undoubtedly passes through areas resembling our Roxy in the box.

TODAY. In Roxy’s world, one can hear the arts of performing arts (cinema, theatre, music, television) on a level differing from the norm. Hyper-costumes, hyper texts, hyper-music, hyper-spaces: Roxy’s art is a  “hypermarket” where the goods undergo the artist’s creative offering, where the shelves are full of ambiguous drifts of pop. But one never thinks of Roxy as an easy, superficial artist because behind the resplendent patina lies that Neapolitan short-circuit which is also an emotional and sentimental journey, an astral melancholy in which lights hiss in the dark. Roxy transforms melodic culture into love for contemporary figuration whilst keeping very much alive that mix of ferocious passion and dejection, enthusiasm and downfall, caresses and slaps. The pulsating colours weep special tears, fresh and salty as in real life. In the end, Roxy’s characters resemble us much more than we think. Each of them has something of us, fragments of reason which speak of our insecurities, of our fear of enjoying the “light”, of love regardless …

XXX that is ROXXXY… because the vertigo of intuition frequently takes on “scandalous” forms, not suited to those who continue to believe that certain Xs only signify a draw in a football match.

Gianluca Marziani