Ugo Giacometti was born in 1976 in Bregaglia in the canton of Graubunden (CH). He attended primary and secondary school in Vicosoprano and Stampa. In 1992, he began his vocational training as a forest warden working for the municipality of Vicosoprano and graduated in 1995. During the same year, he moved to Ticino and started working for a private forestry company.
In 1996, he made his first wooden figures with a chainsaw. The following year, thanks to a referral, he was invited to exhibit his very first creations in the Pfister furniture factory.
Beginning in 1997, he began working with or for the artists Klaus W. Prior, Willi Siber and Edgardo Ratti. After these experiences, he started to focus mainly on sculptures of people.
In 1998, as part of the wine festival at Piazza Riforma in Lugano, he exhibited two huge grapes together with a bottle and a large fish. The fish was later entrusted to the Fisheries Museum of Caslano.
Between 1998 and 1999, he participated in the exhibition of young artists in the Ciäsa Granda Museum in Stampa and took part in the "Black Box" travelling exhibition in the Italian-speaking part of Graubunden.
In 2000, he exhibited and sold many works in the city of Ascona. During the same year, he began to make his giant figures. He carried out his work for individuals and institutions in Ticino, Switzerland and Italy.
Thanks to a Pro Helvetia project, he took the opportunity to travel to Nairobi (Kenya). In Nairobi he left his artistic mark, exhibited his works and visited together with other local artists the art school "Kuona Trust".
At the beginning of 2002, the city of Lugano invited him to create some sculptures in Parco Ciani. The oak sculpture named "I due guardiani" (which was removed from the park in 2017, due to natural decay at its base) became especially well known.
In 2002, he returned to his ancestral home in Vicosoprano, where he still lives today with his wife, Elena, and children, Larissa and Giovanni Levante.
In 2003, together with Patrick Giovanoli, as part of the “Segni” project, Ugo created a series of sculptures inspired by Giovanni Andrea Maurizio’s tragic comedy "La Stria". The project was documented with a publication and presented to the public.
Over the course of 10 years, Ugo devoted almost exclusively to the renovation of a house in Ticino during his free time. During this time, he mainly began to make smaller and colored birchwood sculptures, especially on commission. In this period his style begins to consolidate.
In 2014, as part of the "Capel" project in Maloja, Ugo delivered smuggler figures made out of larch trunks.
In 2015, he did an atypical work for Gigart Chiavenna titled "Nel legno e nella pietra". The works were exhibited in the Parco delle marmitte dei giganti in Chiavenna SO (Italy).
In 2016, on behalf of a ski school in St. Moritz, he realized two figures combined with old alpine skis.
In 2017 he was commissioned to realize an installation for a swiss property company.
In recent years, Ugo has been using his chainsaw to create sculptures that are smaller than the mighty works he created in the past (up to 15 meters high!). The artist does not use any auxiliary tools. Instead of hiding or polishing the tracks and irregular saw cuts, he almost emphasizes them. Finally, he uses oil or acrylic paints to add color to the figures. He primarily makes human figures. Each sculpture is assigned a name.
Often, Ugo is asked if he is related to the famous Alberto Giacometti. His great-grandfather, Arnoldo, was Giovanni Giacometti’s brother, therefore, his grandfather, Ugo Giovanni Alberto, was Alberto Giacometti’s cousin.
The narrow and elongated structure of the tree trunks he uses, the classic works of the famous Swiss artist, other masters, and modern trends inspire Ugo’s sculptures.
Over the last 20 years, Ugo’s works have aroused curiosity and interest. Ugo has been featured in various television programs and a novel published in Ticino was based on the image of one of his sculptures. His trip to Kenya was documented by an Indian cameraman with the intention of making a documentary about the artist. Unfortunately, due to funding issues, the project was not realized.
Ugo currently works as a forest warden in the municipality of Bregaglia and dedicates his free time to passionately creating his characteristic “little men”.