Guido Dettoni, 1946, Milan - Italy. Visual & tactile artist.

Guido Dettoni’s sculptures are often born from the encounter between the hands and the malleable matter he shapes, almost always into blindness. THE HANDS SEE, THE EYES TOUCH.

Handheld shapes that once enlarged contain us so to be CONTAINED BY WHAT WE ARE CONTAINING.

Once reduced, they become wearable. The Shape (Sculpture), is also a multisensory experience when accompanied by sound, fragrance and, eventually, also by an edible element. The Sculpture, as well as the image, aims to be part of an interactive process, sensory and cognitive.

Moved by the imagery of the feminine and the masculine as well as by the one of the Christian tradition, some of his works become Iconic. According to MoMa’s Glossary of Artistic Terms: Iconic, having the character of an icon, that is, an important and enduring symbol, an object of great attention and devotion.

In 1998, it took place in Barcelona the first Exhibition of the 33 reproductions of the statue MARIA, a multifaceted Icon shaped to be held within hands which see it. Icon, carved in woods from all over the world. Music and a specifically designed fragrance were accompanying Touch and Sight.

An icon that represents the Feminine bearing and nourishing life; Mary, the mother of Jesus of the Gospel; the one of the Sura 19 of the Koran; Shakti of Hinduism; Kwan Yin of China; evoking the imagery of many cultures of the world.

It has been installed in forty venues among Cathedrals, Churches, Universities, and Art Centres throughout Europe and Asia. Highlights include permanent exhibitions in Assisi since 2002, Singapore since 2014, Prague since 2015, and since 2017, in Lampedusa and Florence.

In the 70s, Dettoni saw that his way of working could become collective, thus he initiated the HANDSMATTER creative process.

The hands are one mirror of the other. Two halves form the unity, the head, the source of the word. Hands-Head-Word. With our hands, we manifest our feelings and emotions and we can shape within us the surrounding reality, also because we are touching it and, at the same time, we are touched by it. (Guido Dettoni — Thoughts on art)

“How do we look at handheld shapes that are the outcome of an individual expression?”

Being blind or blindfolded we do it with hands, while sighted we do it also with the eyes and furthermore from different points of view. By unfolding the shapes in a plane spherical projection, they generate a 2D sequence of images, so we jump from tangibility to virtuality. Such sequence can become an aesthetic narration of the shape, and it may be shared in a computer environment, thus on the Internet. The initial hypothesis -repeatedly confirmed by numerous experiences- is that all shapes the hands create contain information about what has stimulated their creation. This applies obviously to artworks reproducing what is outside, what is seen, but it also applies to works that express and manifest what is inside: i.e. shapes blindly created without any intention to make something specific.

The interpretation of a shape is reached by jumping from the 3D shape to the several 2D images therein contained, which, once composed and assembled between them, might depict what has stimulated the creation of the shape itself. To accomplish this compositional experience, the creative process HANDSMATTER, so-called in 2000 by Guido Dettoni, incorporates a specifically programmed interactive digital application. HANDSMATTER has found various applications in the field of the arts with experiences in West Africa, Singapore, the Americas, and some European countries; in the field of disability in workshops with deafblind people in Catalonia, in the USA, and Canada; in the didactic and therapeutic fields, i.e. in Catalonia, and the Balears.