“Encounters 1”, the annual exhibition project of the Italian Institute of Culture (IIC) in Santiago, Chile, is due to open with the show “Urbinus Codex” by sculptor Franco Lillo on April 5. “Encounters 1”, an initiative sponsored by the Consejo de la Cultura y de las Artes (National Council for Culture and Arts), aims at developing a creative multidisciplinary itinerary across Italian-Chilean cultural exchanges through five different shows. The cultural relations between the two countries will be explored through a number of artistic disciplines. In his “Codex Urbinus” Lillo (Santiago 1988) shaped these cultural exchanges around the studies of the great Leonardo da Vinci. He takes Leonardo’s graphic studies (contained in a set of manuscripts or “Codes”) as his point of departure. Through these studies Leonardo aimed to establish rational thinking about and knowledge of the mathematical laws that govern nature. Nature was the main source of study for Leonardo, who felt compelled to delve into it in order to understand the laws governing its order and unity. In his “Codex Urbinus”, about 500 years ago, he recorded the principle of xylogenesis, namely the rule of the proportional growth of tree branches, whereby the sum of their thickness corresponds to the thickness of the trunk – or branch – from which they sprout. Inspired by the laws of formation and growth described by Da Vinci, as well as by his growth processes and morphological analysis, the young sculptor seeks to discover the plant’s inner anatomy by dissecting “aromo” and acacia logs, establishing equivalences with human beings by adding elements such as arms and hands sculpted in resin. If Da Vinci painted with nature on his mind, this sculptural project is forged on the natural model, making explicit the symbols that bind man and nature.