the Mediterranean contemporary prize is the biennial prize conceived by the Porta Coeli Foundation to produce systematic and substantial solicitations in contemporary art, promoting the development of an environment that encourages the creation of relations with those many specificities of territories and society that characterise Italy. In order to produce frictions, encounters and exchanges of collective and mutual interest, the Foundation creates the conditions for the connection of an international artistic community with instances and roots of geographical, cultural and anthropological contexts of high value and certain peculiarities.

the theme

in a place such as the territory of Monteserico Castle, strongly connoted by emptiness rather than fullness, by absences rather than presences, by potentialities rather than acts, the insistence of the abandoned, prematurely obsolescent traces of the agrarian “Re—form” remind us how, in today’s times, it is no longer possible to decree and determine once and for all the forms of life and human relations and their relationship with territories from a predetermined image of them. Rather, inhabiting a place, as well as making art, is a complex, necessarily participatory and negotiated processuality, in which form is only the unstable and precarious, inherently impermanent result of a flux that it is possible and necessary to govern, but that it is counterproductive to predetermine or force. In this sense, theories of living at the turn of the twentieth century followed extraordinarily closely artistic theories that speak of performativity, of relationality, of open and indeterminate forms in place of an art of contemplation, whose essential end was the determination of a monumental form, as stable and imperturbable assertiveness.

Castle of Monteserico
the context

The Castle of Monteserico rises not far from the battlefield where the Normans and Byzantines clashed, the focal point of a great parable that from Robert Guiscard (buried in nearby Venosa, Potenza, near his magnificent Incompiuta, his unfinished temple) led to the conquest of Sicily and the creation of artistic languages that linked Byzantine mosaic art, Norman military strength, Romanesque sense of the sacred and Arab architectural technology and styles (ogival arches, muqarnas, wind towers, etc.): a sampling of forms and proto-engineering methods that were fundamental for the art of the whole of Europe over the next three or four centuries.

Categories of the prize
in the 2023 edition

The categories of the prize, in the 2023 edition, are three:
— painting, illustration, chalcographic techniques 
— sculpture, installation 
— photography, video art, performance