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HUG ME Naples ’23


Gallerie d'Italia - Napoli


From the 9th of May to the 23rd of July 2023


Free workshop activities with the artist for primary, secondary and high schools

9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18 May at 10 a.m., 11.30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Booking required by e-mail

Fabio Pietrantonio meets schools in the Naples area 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 to involve schoolchildren of all levels in Pietrantonio's creative dimension. A creative, recreational and meditative activity where school groups will investigate, guided by the artist, the symbiotic and harmonious relationship that can be established with the primordial forces that rule nature.

The NATURAL LOVE cycle (Beyond Life)

The tree plays a leading role in Fabio Pietrantonio's artistic production. It is a constant presence that has found its own space in the successful cycle Natural Love (Beyond Life) since 2006. The tree is an archetypal image with multiple meanings which all cultures and civilisations have investigated since the dawn of time, but it is in its most primitive and ancestral meaning, in which the principle of a living cosmos in continuous regeneration is summed up, that the artist has elaborated his original poetics. For the first time, this exhibition presents a selection of works that, alongside historical art, proposes some new interpretations of the theme, created specifically for the HUG ME Naples '23 project.
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 regenerative, continuous and incessant loop. The tree continues its existential path in an ascending motion towards the sky and down into the earth, incorporating the force of the four elements. In this expansive vital pulsion, the roots inspect the soil, penetrating deeply into the water table in search of water, just as the branches, through their leaves, draw energy from the sun, triggering photosynthesis that transforms carbon dioxide into oxygen. These are natural processes of renewal and purification that the artist has explored in recent years, elaborating an extraordinary gallery of depictions of trees called upon to metabolise objects of various natures forced into their vital cycles by human recklessness and fickleness.

The tree and the shaman artist

A mirroring process takes place around the purifying essence of the tree, through which Pietrantonio manifests a pivotal aspect of his poetics linked to the symbolism of the shaman, a figure that the artist became directly acquainted with 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 similar terms, the shaman challenges the mysteries of nature with his mysticism and, with the strength of his psychic abilities, acts as an intermediary, capable of crossing the boundary that separates sensible reality from the otherworldly.
If the human body is the centre of the rational universe in humanistic-Renaissance thought, as is well expressed in Leonardo's drawing of Vitruvian Man, the representation of the tree unlocks the secrets of the alchemical dimension that Pietrantonio explores, focusing on the mechanics of life cycles. In these works we find an unlikely humus made of coins, old textiles and other discarded elements that become the starting point for a reflection on contingency. The artist measures the effects of human actions such as conflicts, crises and social tensions through the impact they have on nature, and the foreign substances that the roots have indiscriminately taken up reappear among the branches. Sometimes we find long ropes, another element borrowed from the mysticism of the shaman, a symbol of asceticism that, in the knotted variant, evokes the arcane dimension of cosmic, social and existential bonds that the artist intends to untie in order to reconcile the balance between nature and its most conscious child.