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Ceramics, an essential element of the identity history of Grottaglie

Posted on07/19/2023 by
Till Oct. 8, the XXX edition of the "Mediterranean" Contemporary Ceramic Competition.

38 international works
A major international event that attracts artists from around the world each year.

Grottaglie, in the province of Taranto, is the city unique in the world for its district entirely dedicated to the production of ceramic art objects. An element, this one, "essential to the identity history of the city that for centuries has managed to transform the earth into artistic creations." With its more than seventy workshops in operation, it stands on a ravine where, in ancient times, the underground world of a rock civilization developed.

With the 30th edition of the Mediterranean Contemporary Ceramic Competition, Grottaglie pays tribute to local craftsmanship.

A jury of experts in the field of contemporary ceramic art evaluated the 38 works in the international competition, awarding those that stand out for innovation and contemporaneity.

Golden Rock organic 4 by Karima Duchamp (France) won the first prize for ceramics because "The artifact perfectly summarizes the conceptual structure of a ceramic sculpture with organic, material, decorative and technical references in a harmonious overall reading."

Instead, the solo exhibition award went to On relations: On adjusting, on mismatching and the difficult art of maintaining a balance by Monika Patuszyńska (Poland), "a work concerned with the complex principle of balancing parts, which is difficult to maintain in a sculptural composition."

The exhibition will be on view until October 8, 2023 in the halls of the Episcopal Castle. Thirty-eight international works from Poland, Japan, England, Lithuania, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Romania and Italy will be on view.

The Competition, which began in 1971 in the Ionian town, is now an internationally important event that attracts artists and ceramicists from all over the world each year. Through ceramics, the artists "express their vision of the Mediterranean, interweaving historical, cultural, naturalistic and social elements," a note says. It is a unique showcase for emerging and established ceramicists, offering them the opportunity to exhibit their work and become part of a prestigious artistic community.

The 30th Mediterranean Contemporary Ceramic Competition, which runs from July 2 until Oct. 8, 2023, is promoted and organized by the City of Grottaglie.

Location: Episcopio Castle, Immaculate Square

Opening hours and prices:
- Monday 3:30 pm - 8:30 pm;
- Tuesday through Friday 10:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m;
- Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Ticket cost:

- REDUCED: 2 euro (from 15 to 25 years old and for groups of 15 people and more);
- REDUCED B: 1 euro (from 6 to 14 years old);
- FREE: up to 5 years old, licensed tour guides, accredited journalists, ICOM members, disabled with accompanying persons, ARTSUPP card holders

Reservations and Information:
- Castello Episcopio, Piazza Immacolata 099 5620427

The Mediterranean Contemporary Ceramics Competition.

Grottaglie is known internationally as the "City of Ceramics" for its figuline history, that is, the art of the potter and for the uniqueness of its "Ceramics Quarter." Since 1971 it has hosted the "Mediterranean Contemporary Ceramics Competition," the first edition of which was included as part of the 12th Ceramics Exhibition. From 2004 to the present, the event has been organized continuously.

Over the years, the Mediterranean Contemporary Ceramics Competition "has strengthened its function as a tool for research and in-depth study of artistic expressions of the culture of Mediterranean peoples." Over the years it has won important national awards and collaborations with national and international museum realities.

All the winning works, created over the years by nationally and internationally renowned artists, have found their way into the Contemporary Section of the Grottaglie Ceramics Museum. The exhibition that can be visited in the former Capuchin Convent, today represents a significant artistic heritage, owned by the municipality, visited by thousands of tourists, scholars, artists and lovers of ceramic art.

"The Competition over the years has continued to be the subject of revisitations, conceptual and organizational, thus arriving at a new exhibition and competition model hinged on the objective and innovative reading of the formal artistic proposal, assuming an international dimension, projected on wide boundaries."

Grottaglie, city of signature pottery

The name Grottaglie derives from the Latin Kriptalys and the Greek Κρυπταλύς, due to the presence of caves (krypta, κρύπτα), in fact, in much of its territory, which date back to the Paleolithic period.

It is the only pottery town with a district entirely dedicated to the production of this type of craftsmanship: the "Pottery Quarter." This rises along the ravine of San Giorgio where, over the centuries, expert potters have carved workshops and baking ovens out of the rock of hypogean environments also used in the past as oil mills.

Grottaglie with its more than seventy potters' workshops is included in the short list of Italy's forty-five Ceramic Cities. And its flourishing craftsmanship is recognized and appreciated all over the world.

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