SMILING AND “SCAMAZZANDO” * PULCINELLA
By Anita pepe
I’d like to beat Pulcinella to a pulp!». The expression is undoubtedly colourful, but comes as no surprise to those familiar with the phrase. Those, instead, who have never heard it before, can rectify the situation starting this evening until the end of January, 2007, at the Franco Riccardo Arti Visive Gallery in via Santa Teresa al Museo 8, where “Roxy in the box” has finally decided to “break out of the box” and hold an exhibit in her native city. This long awaited first exhibit is a rather unusual first for someone who (as born witness by her CV and the discerning eyes of numerous curators) is certainly no debutant. However, unlike many other Neapolitan artists who leave Naples but never manage to truly detach themselves from the city, Roxy preferred to take the long route, distancing herself from familiar places. Above all, for her, a “pop-ular” artist who, although her gaze and paint brush are constantly focused on her neighbourhood, simply “is” and doesn’t affect being a Neapolitan and detests the horrible habit of transforming the city’s alleyways into in a growing medium for sketching bacteria and oleograph viruses, including those negative ones that are so much in fashion these days. The paintings on exhibit are a confirmation of this, a large scale, garnish, lively conspectus of “Pulp…ations” which, while having bloomed in fertile, exquisitely Neapolitan humus, somehow travel well and fit in other contexts, both equally oppressed by the spread of a violent, abusive subculture. A menacing, vulgar world where alien-like adolescents who, despite their marvellous surroundings, have no hope of ever becoming civilized and flaunt themselves with arrogant insolence and where a terrible threat of annihilation, like “T’aggia scassà ‘o sanghe”** becomes a pretext for reeling off the litany of a snappy video clip featuring an ambiguous, dandified “Marselle-type gangster” in a flat cap and designer scarf, reminiscent more of a Dolce & Gabbana catwalk than the 41bis (a local bus). Once again, her work defiantly pulverizes the both the sacred and the profane stereotypes of Naples the “paese d’o sole” *** the, as yellow as the adherent track suit worn by the ever present banana seller in the Pignasecca**** area: a paradoxical, genuine response to the warrior bride in Tarantino’s cult movie, an old fogy who has spent a life time there who probably has never tasted that “aperitif in the city centre” publicized in that refined /nefarious -ized poster board with phrase “Martiri” (where in heaven’s name would they place the accent?), remnant of a long period of manipulation of consumerist icons. The bright colours, the irony of the titles, the brilliant, forthright character of the artist and her works don’t fool anyone. The reality, terribly bitter and discouraging, is exalted in the insufference, mimed in the language for the deaf-dumb in a sequence of nine drawings, and the disenchantment of the autobiographical diptych “Cento colpi di sega” (one hundred strokes of a saw), a melancholic takeoff on the female ritual of the brushing one’s hair at night before going to bed. A moment of reflection and freedom, perhaps the only free moment of the day, which, however, is not always filled with pleasant thoughts.
More than chopped-off hair, what falls away here are our illusions, melting like a popsicle in a child’s hands and reminding us of how difficult it is to hold out.
*(beating Pulcinella to a pulp)
** a threat of physical injury which literally involves “shattering” blood.
*** a Neapolitan song, the title translates literally as the land of the sun in reference to Naples
**** a crowded popular open air market and residential area in Naples
Pulp A(c)tion – paintings
I have to break your blood
You’ve busted my balls LIS (Italian Sign Language)