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HUG ME Milan '24


Gallerie d'Italia - Milan


From 21 March to 26 May, 2024


HUG ME Project – Milan: Workshop with artist

Fabio Pietrantonio meets visitors offering his personal reflection on the life cycle of the tree. The aim of the project, conceived as an open and inclusive educational workshop, is create awareness and involve audiences in Pietrantonio's creative dimension. A creative activity filled with symbolic and spiritual suggestions inspired by a harmonious relationship with nature in which participants will question themselves, opportunely guided by the artist, about the symbiotic and harmonious relationship, to stimulate reflection on the relationship between man and nature.

Meetings for primary, middle and high schools
Scheduled for 27 March, 10 April, 18 April and 8 May, at 12 noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. 
Admission is free with compulsory booking via email at

Meetings for adults
Scheduled for 23 March and 20 April, at 4.30 p.m.
Admission is free with compulsory booking via email at

Gallerie d’Italia - Milan hosts the work of Fabio Pietrantonio, an original and eclectic artist whose research is filled with symbolic and spiritual suggestions inspired by a harmonious relationship with nature. HUG ME is a new cultural format that revolves around the activities of workshops conceived to engage the public - particularly schools - and generate awareness around a theme that is at the heart of the contemporary debate. The project, which kicks off as spring begins, focuses on the theme of rebirth. Alongside works by Pietrantonio preserved in the Intesa Sanpaolo collections, four new site-specific works and a large canvas, designed to stimulate reflection on the relationship between man and nature, which is currently in progress and will be completed with the collaboration of participants in the workshops are presented.


Fabio Pietrantonio was born in Turin in 1966. He began his artistic experience in Sardinia as assistant to sculptor Gaspare da Brescia, participating in the creation of works with religious subjects commissioned by the Vatican.
His travels and long stays in Australia brought him into direct contact with the Aboriginal culture. Drawing from a civilisation still linked to a primitive lifestyle uncontaminated by progress, he became fully aware of an original poetic vision focused on a new-found inner balance and a harmonious relationship with nature. In New Mexico, he became acquainted with the Pueblos of the Native Americans, discovering the appeal of rituals and the fascination of celebration through the symbolism of sacrality. The artist drew an intimate message from these cultures and understood the importance of overcoming the states of alienation and anxiety that characterise contemporary western society, rediscovering an original relationship with creation. The “cosmic” order of Pietrantonio's work is expressed through the use of materials such as wood, stone, dust, sand and pigments balanced with metal, gauze, fabric, rope and even flower petals. He carefully selects these objects from unspoilt environments and then carefully recombines them on canvas or during ritual performances. The mystical yearning that characterises Pietrantonio's research transcends individual religious beliefs and performs a pantheistic and shamanic exploration of the profound sense of communion and reunion between man and nature. Active with exhibitions and installations all over the world, Fabio Pietrantonio has chosen to live in secluded and serene places, surrounded by the unspoilt nature of the Alps and Sardinia, drawing a continuous source of inspiration for his works from these places.


NATURAL LOVE (Beyond life)

The tree is the protagonist of the successful cycle entitled Natural Love (Beyond Life). The artist reflects on the archetypal and anthropological dimension of this image with its multiple meanings, turning to its most primitive meaning, which summarises the principle of a living cosmos in continuous regeneration. Pietrantonio insinuates himself into the symbolic nature of the tree's life cycle, which proceeds in accordance with the changing of the seasons, opposing a continuous process of rebirth to death in a sort of loop of incessant regeneration. The tree continues its existential path of expansion, moving specularly up towards the sky and down into the earth, incorporating the force of the four elements. In an extraordinary gallery of variations on the theme, the artist explores the relationship between man and nature, highlighting the dangers with which delicate and symbiotic life processes are compromised.

The tree and the shaman-artist
The purifying and thaumaturgic essence of the tree is linked to the symbolism of the shaman, a figure the artist became acquainted with directly during a long stay in the Australian Aboriginal reserves. The tree connects the celestial vault with the depths of the underworld, life with death, the visible with concealed interiority, in the same way that the shaman challenges the mysteries of nature with his mysticism and, acting as an intermediary between the sensitive reality and the otherworld. 
If the human body is the centre of the rational universe in humanistic-Renaissance thought, the representation of the tree unlocks the secrets of the alchemical dimension that Pietrantonio explores, focusing on the mechanics of life cycles compromised by senseless human intervention. Conflicts, crises, tensions and climatic shifts have an obvious effect on nature, and here the foreign substances taken up indiscriminately by the roots reappear among the branches, often in the form of long ropes, another element borrowed from the mysticism of the shaman. A symbol of ascesis, the knotted rope evokes the arcane dimension of cosmic, social and existential bonds that the artist intends to loosen in order to foster a possible reconciliation and renewed balance between nature and its most conscious child.

Stefano Sbarbaro