Ceramic tiles that become art

Without much hesitation, we can say that Marazzi is one of the finest Italian companies in the world and one of the most famous brands in the ceramic tile sector. Not by chance, Sassuolo, the city where the company was founded in 1935, has become part of the Ceramic District, a world-famous manufacturing zone.

What most people don’t know is that, in addition to its production and technological research, Marazzi also carries out numerous artistic and cultural projects. Through these various initiatives, the company exhibits its passion for supporting and promoting the creativity and riches of the territory in which it was founded between Modena and Reggio Emilia. Today we’d like to highlight an artistic project which is interesting both from a symbolic and technological point of view. It’s a real gem which should not be missed by anyone passing through the area.

It’s called “Curiosa Meravigliosa” and it is a large photo-mosaic created by the artist Joan Fontcuberta and made with digitally printed ceramic tiles which were obviously produced by Marazzi.

A large photo-mosaic made with ceramic tiles

Curiosa Meravigliosa is a permanent piece of public art which was commissioned by the city of Reggio Emilia to the Catalan photographer Joan Fontcuberta and Marazzi. It is an incredible photo-mosaic which is 16 meters high and 6 meters long and constructed on the building of the Musei Civici. It is made up of over 12,000 digitally printed photographs on large ceramic tiles. These photographs were sent by the city’s residents and selected by Fontcuberta to create a single image of a peacock.

A peacock as a symbol of visual experience

We were struck by this extraordinary project and its evocative and symbolic power. The peacock has represented beauty, curiosity, and wisdom since the times of the ancient Greeks. It is said that its tail feathers are in reality 100 eyes, and in this project they underscore the importance of vision as a source of experience and artistic activity.

Marazzi’s technology

The choice of making a photoceramic work demonstrates the value of recovering a 19th century technique, which has been reinterpreted with modern technology, and applying it to an era in which the incredible abundance of images forces the artist to reconsider her relationship with photography. Everything is digital and intangible and that’s why it is interesting and necessary to reevaluate the qualities of materials like ceramic.

In this artistic and manufacturing process, the Marazzi laboratory and factory hosted Joan Fontcuberta during the production and printing of the ceramic tiles. The wall laying was entrusted to a team of Marazzi Engineering, the company’s specialized division

A public and collective work

The other incredibly interesting aspect of Curiosa Meravigliosa is its social and urban significance. It is a collective work because it is made up of thousands of photos sent by Reggio Emilia residents. They are photographs with reduced dimensions which are usually seen on a one-to-one basis and require an intimate relationship between the observer and the photo.

In this case, however, every photo contributes to something larger and has been made for collective use. It is in this passage from the private to the public, in what is shared, that a sense of community and belonging gets created. So, if the ceramic tiles are the individuals, the work is the society, and should be witnessed in all its beauty.

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