This post from the series “Boleslawiec artistic community” was prepared within the framework of the project “Boleslawiec – 30 years of local government” implemented by the Museum of Ceramics and the Boleslawiec Cultural Center – International Ceramics Center
Mateusz Grobelny was born in 1980. In 2008, he graduated from the Faculty of Ceramics and Glass at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, where he studied ceramic design under Professors Przemysław Lasak and Jan Drzewiecki. He is a ceramic artist, sculptor and specialises in creating unique ceramics fixed in wood-fired kilns. His studies have had a significant impact on his artistic sensibility, but in his everyday work he also finds use for two professions he acquired earlier: construction technician and clothing technician with a specialisation in designer-stylist.
Visitors to the Bolesławiec Ceramics Festival are particularly familiar with the spectacular, monumental outdoor kilns built on the square next to the Market Square, which take on a different form every year. The process of their creation brings to mind the design of both architecture and clothing, and requires great technical skill. It all starts with a sketch on paper, which takes a group of volunteers up to several weeks to bring to life. The first step is to build a hearth, over which a structure of welded steel rods is then erected. The skeleton is covered with silicon mats that allow light to pass through, providing an unusual visual experience during firing. Slightly different, but just as interesting, is the use of layered glass tiles in the walls of the kiln, which melt when heated. Some of the kilns are constructed in such a way that they can be opened during firing, turning the whole project into a kind of theatre, a fascinating performance that strongly captures the imagination of the audience. The ceramics fired in such kilns are always unpredictable and unique, as, irrespective of the authors’ knowledge and experience, chance plays a significant role in their creation.
On a daily basis, Mateusz Grobelny creates original, custom-made utility and decorative ceramics, including those turned on the potter’s wheel. He is also the author of three ceramic benches set up in the Bolesławiec Market Square. In his work he is inspired by femininity, nature and sometimes technological challenges. The joy of creation often turns into a struggle against the resistance of the matter. However, everything is rewarded by the awareness of creating a new reality, building something out of nothing.
The artist has won numerous prizes and solo exhibitions. Between 2010 and 2020, he ran his own ceramic-sculpture workshop at the Bolesławiec Cultural Centre – International Ceramics Centre. In 2013- 2019 he served as commissioner of the International Ceramic and Sculpture Plein-Air in Bolesławiec.
We invite you to watch footage of Mateusz Grobelny’s work:
An interview with the artist conducted on 29 July 2019 by Łużyce Television
Relation from the construction and firing of the “Arcade of Fire” kiln