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If you know of performance artist Romina de Novellis, you know that something unusual is bound to happen when she begins her piece. Back in April, we first witnessed a performance piece of hers, “La Veglia,” at Salotto “Angela Missoni” in New York, which was created by Kreëmart. Here, alongside many other artworks, artists, conversations and activations, Novellis sat for over 12 hours unraveling red Missoni yarn, made just for her, while nude. Her dynamic work compels viewers to ask questions surrounding our current political climate, personal difficulties, and the evolution of the art world.
On May 11 in Venice, organized once more by Kreëmart and in cooperation with Lightbox and Galleria Alberta Pane, the artist performed a new piece titled “Inferno.” To coincide with the 57th International Art Exhibition, from 3-6 p.m. at the Navy’s Office Club Fondamenta Arsenale, the artist sat on the ground, as if at an altar, wearing a white dress filled with and surrounded by pieces of watermelon. Throughout the three-hour period, Novellis methodically ate the watermelon from her lap, while a small orchestra played behind her.
The work, dedicated to the city of Venice, the country of Italy, and to the Mediterranean at large, is symbolic and representational of the artist’s confrontational nature. In an uncertain time for culture, religion, life, and death, Novellis presents a sensual, vibrant performance.