Rosy Rox: transgression and rebirth between female identity and freedom of expression Giancarlo Napolitano 11 Marzo 2015 English Art News When the body of the woman protests. Travel between the sacred, the profane and the transgressive performing universe of Rosy Rox. She looks at me with appealing eyes and I am soon entrapped in her universe. It looks like she wants to provoke me, to seduce me dangerously, but behind those eyes there is hidden too much tenderness and fragility. “Flail” 2007- Ph: Salvatore Di Vilio Ph: Salvatore Di Vilio This is Rosy Rox, in her performing work, switching between the erotic-seductive element and its opposite tender –romantic one : a work centred mainly on issues of female identity and the role of women in different social contexts, representing metaphorically places and objects of medieval prisons. It is the ritual gesture of her performances that instantly attracts my attention, a gesture that expresses in its fragmentary nature a whole universe to explore. There is total absence of words in this art, but many looks, hints, movements that give way to a thousand interpretations, gestures that multiply but that in their fragmentary elusiveness and inability to emulate them, uniquely express a single message: the woman and her freedom of expression. “Stark Rot“ – 2005 “ In doing so, Rosy tells her inner world, her desires through the use of her body that becomes an object of aesthetic contemplation and philosophical reflection. It is a body immersed in synergy in a space that welcomes it and from which emanates energy according to empathetic fields. In creating empathy the artist creates her works in direct contact with the audience, which ensnared in her world, scrutinizes it, interrogates it and takes appropriate distances after reflection, until she is left alone. Rosy attracts the audience with her magical aura, with her uncanny look, with the use of instruments of torture that at first glance might be misunderstood as sex toys or objects of erotic fantasies repressed by frustrations, but her transgression goes well beyond the simple sadomasochistic relationship that is established with the viewer. It is a message that comes from afar. “Lotus flower” – 2009 – live from performanceph: Gennaro Navarra Nourished by the readings of Lucy Irigaray, the artist retraces a long history of feminist tradition, shouts to the world the rights of women who have suffered and continue to carry the burden of discrimination or political constraints . Her body is there to be uprooted and to reassert itself in its identity of a free woman. And her instruments – whips, wheels, storks crippling – far from being objects of torture, are the emblem of social imprisonments, of which the woman has often been the victim. They are prisons which define the body, both social and psychic, symbolizing male constraints that believe to dominate a female universe that is fighting and always emerges a winner in its beauty, in its audacity in contravening laws that the system has tried to impose on its spirit. These objects become so elements of aesthetic contemplation, as well as the body which is given in its emotional mobility, exposed with its weakness to the eyes of the avid observer. These objects regain the traits of fashion accessories; in their glamour they are embellished with jewels, of silver and gold as if they symbolize the inner wealth, which is reached after excessive suffering that women have had to face in search of their social emancipation. “Please return to You” – 2012 – Live from performanceph: Gennaro Navarra The Beauty, for Rox, strong supporter of Buddhist beliefs, is born from the mud . It is suffering from the most adverse circumstances that the woman’s body emerges like a Venus from the sparkling waters, who, submerged in the evils of the world, comes out pure, rescuing not only herself but the whole mankind. It is a beauty that feeds and welcomes its contrasts. And it is the Eros, as the artist explains, the most privileged way out to seek glimpses of freedom. It is a primal force that I try to escape from the clothes of the bigotry that invades our time. And this is how the object and subject are intertwined and clear each other in the performing act . “I shall break in your judgment” – 2009 – live performance from ph: Gennaro Navarra Sometimes Rosy seems to appear as an object in tatters, raped by the looks of others, but are we certain to understand the intent? Who has reduced her in these terms? Is not the artist who voluntarily hurts herself to appear as a victim? In reality we have become the victims of her game. My works are loaded with ambiguous messages and highlight the division created between form and substance, between being and appearance. In the performance “I shall break in your judgment” Rosy ties herself, as a new St. Catherine of Alexandria , to a wheel lacquered in white and embellished with jewels and it seems that her body is exposed to the gaze of the audience as an erotic object. But then magically one after the other, viewers untie her from those metaphorical laces, freeing the body from captivity and restoring its social status. And at the same time the audience of this event is free from mental conditioning that had considered the woman a submissive subject. “La Robe” – 2012 – live from performanceph: Amedeo Benestante The catharsis is played on two levels: the viewer and the artist reach a new status, liberating, very different from the initial one. In another performance the Robe , Rosy limps, covered by a shell in latex on a catwalk to the cold and mechanical rhythm of a metronome. The movement is slow and heavy, and gradually the artist is revealed in her frontal nudity, while her “shell” is torn apart by tie rods. Once again it is the pain, the inner laceration to restore beauty to the female body. The shell, symbol of social conditioning, no longer has reason to exist after the woman has struggled hard to find herself. And the dress is the most obvious symbol of the ‘ appearance of being and deleting it means metaphorically return back to its roots and regain its own originality, even at the cost of exposing its inner fragility. “We believe” – 2013 – Steel, aluminum. Between two different tensions, the materiality of the body and the temporality, marked by a continuous rhythm without end, the artist finds her way out and looks at us with eyes still scared and body tired from struggle, but finally free . It is a set path that we must be able to face in order to return in life as free women, and Rosy manages to do it in her courage to expose herself in her nakedness, and in her continuing to believe in the rights of women’s emancipation, strong advocate that from the most darkest suffering can exit the radiant light of her being, “tearing” the social conventions from the body, the masks and roles that the traditions have imposed on her over the centuries. “The Gift” – 2011/2014 – live performance from Ph: Amalia Cantile But what happens when the body, tired, ceases to be a performing element? Are we facing the eclipse of the artist? In the radiant universe of Rosy Rox, art meets always new forms to regenerate. The artist extends her production through new forms of social experimentation, in which her body is no longer at the centre of art, but the one of others. Remarkable is the social commitment that sees the young Neapolitan artist engaged in various workshops in collaboration with patients of Alzheimer’s disease and with children of different schools. Charged with feminist verve dating back to the activism of Lucia Mastrodomenico , Rosy approaches to the most needy, the most fragile and innocent and in her workshop the “gift” she simply asks them to think about something. Acting on their feelings, their inner, the artist translates symbolically in the form of concrete blocks their emotions, objectifying, so to speak, their thoughts and returning them to the future. “The Gift” 2011/2014 – live from workshops Ph: Michela Fabbroncino And this is how the woman, in her formative years, after reaching her identity becomes militant and helps others to search themselves and the artist, in this new role, no longer does appear enclosed in her elite world, but she mingles amongst the people, takes part in the daily life of others and feeding of their passions, is reborn in new forms.