The Mediterranean contemporary art 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.
For the Porta Coeli Foundation, the prize is also a significant opportunity to explore the levels and multiplicities of contemporary artistic production globally, testing the components of local identity in an open context beyond geographical and political boundaries. Every edition, for the Foundation, the participating artists, the territory and the international partners involved, is a dizzy and unique enrichment of their possibilities to act in the contemporary world.
The Mediterranean contemporary art prize is a biennial international event held in high standing venues that are historically tended towards multicultural integration due to its central position in the Mediterranean area. Here dominations, encounters and clashes between peoples have produced an extraordinary mix that emerges and reveals itself in the urban forms, in the lexicon, in the gastronomy, in the social and symbolic structures used by the people to produce a mental image of the world. The Mediterranean becomes the conceptual representation of a border that is not a line but space, not the place of a contrast between two opposing voices but the place of a plural conversation. It is a space in which peoples lookout in search of mutual osmotic relationships, projection and aspiration. This idea inspires the Mediterranean contemporary art prize.
Therefore, the founding concept of the prize is the multicultural thought of Frederick II, Duke of Swabia, who has left numerous castles and territorial garrisons in Basilicata. From here, he governed his empire through the promulgation of the Constitutions of Melfi (Potenza), the most significant code of law in the Middle Ages. Emperor Frederick II, nicknamed Stupor Mundi (Wonder of the world), had intuited and promoted the concept of the universality of human knowledge. He was the spiritual father of a different idea of Europe with its centre in the Mediterranean sea. He found a strong representation of multiculturalism as a political method in an architecture capable of merging the Arab world with northern Europe, the Romanesque
consistency with the dematerialisation of Byzantine mosaics.