Matera 2019

Utopias and dystopias

Ars Excavandi is the opening exhibition in the programme of Matera European Capital of Culture 2019. This outstanding international event is the first exploration of the art and practices of excavation that have given rise to architectures, civilizations and rupestrian landscapes throughout the centuries. From a contemporary perspective, it proposes a new approach to rupestrian art, from the early use of natural cavities and rock carvings to caves, dwellings, monuments, canals, cities and villages carved out of the rock.

A month of events dedicated to circus arts in their most experimental and contemporary variations. The events will take place mainly at the Cava del Sole immediately after its opening. In this way the local community will have the chance to become familiar with the restyling of this unique place and make it one of the recreation centres where to discover and experience Matera 2019.

Matera Alberga is a project of installations and site-specific works of contemporary art set up in a number of hotels to recreate the old “Vicinati” (neighbourhood) of the Sassi. The aim of Art is to stimulate the renewal of the key elements of life in the Sassi of Matera: welcoming, meeting and living together. These works will be an opportunity to meet, raise awareness and attend workshops, along with local peoples and travellers, on the relationships between art and the processes of daily life. The works in the hotel will be symbols and metaphors of welcoming, meeting and living together from rupestrian civilisation to contemporary society. 

In Homo Ludensby (1938), the Dutch philosopher Johan Huizinga highlighted the importance of games in culture and society as a necessary and primary condition for the production of culture. Games allow us to test different ways of designing urban space, facing social problems and living together or far away. Games are a new form of sharing, communicating and of experiencing oneself.

Gardentopia is a project focused on the valorization of green spaces through the active involvement of citizens. The project aims for groups of citizens, schools or associations, in collaboration with international artists temporarily living in Matera, to transform abandoned public areas into community gardens and orchards. Artists and landscape architects, coordinated by Pelin Tan, the artistic curator, will work with the communities and also organize workshops, talks and thematic festivals on jointly agreed dates. Each new or existing garden will thus develop its unique characteristics.

Like two goddesses, Petra and Matera are places that share the same soul, sinking their roots deep into the stone and the substance they contact. Twinned by Unesco, these two towns and their rugged heritage represent a chance to “penetrate” Basilicata and Jordan, in order to discover the landscape and artistic beauties and peculiarities of these areas. This appeal from Basilicata to Jordan was the source of inspiration of MATER(i)A P(i)ETRA photographic project, created by Carlos Solito, a photographer, film director and writer.

The project, through the construction of 7 pavilions within a system of cisterns dating back to the fifteenth century in the heart of the “Sassi” district, aims to raise awareness of the leading role of architecture and artistic research in the city of Matera. A design vision that emphasises one of the main characteristics of the city of Matera (the underground and excavated architecture) alongside the idea of the ‘Olivettian’ city as a laboratory of new cultural and spatial visions.

Open Playful Space develops a series of events in which game, sport and urban arts become a new gateway to the discovery, regenerations and re-qualifications of spaces and communities, to be lived as cultural, common and accessible places. The project aims to give public spaces back to citizens by making invisible spaces visible and accessible, on a voyage of discovery through places, activities, people and stories aimed at giving new and different lives and facets to sites: an “invisible” space can be transformed into a space that is open to all, simultaneously becoming a stage, a playground or a canvas.

Matera Città Aperta will investigate and experiment with the theme of boundary, understood as a physical and material separation but also as a non-visible separation. For us, the theme of boundary is linked to issues such as diversity, division, the construction of barriers, the exercise of power, as well as accessibility, inclusion, participation and the breaking down and crossing of borders.