Introducion by Guido Dettoni

Inspired by my way of working, I conceived the creative art practice, collective or individual, which I called HANDSMATTER in the 1970s.


The name HANDSMATTER describes this systematic technique by combining the English words, hands and matter, composing the term with the intention of giving multiple meanings to matter: 1. A material substance, 2. An event, 3. Being important: meaning, 4. The subject of discourse and, 5. A subject to be considered.

HANDSMATTER is based on the encounter between malleable matter and hands shaping it with blindfolded eyes to witness what stimulates the senses, emotions, or intellect. Sight is excluded except for the possible use of a sleeve within which the hands shaping are hiding from sight.


The collective practice begins with participants coming together and molding wax blindfolded, being guided by a previously chosen stimulation, i.e., the Initial Theme and often accompanied by sound, fragrance, and taste.

HANDSMATTER is an experience of creating a form without any intention of doing something determined, but, almost in a meditative state to witness what we perceive. The shapes contain images of their different facets. By looking at the volume from multiple points of view, one sees it in a sequence of images, as in the projection of the globe on a planisphere; this fosters the intellectual, and sometimes emotional, interpretation that arises from looking at it from each side.


Unveiling the creativity of everyone who participates, the lived process leaves an imprint in memory and a tactile work that bears witness to it.

The HANDSMATTER, collective or individual, process may also be the starting of Transmutations created by me. The shapes and their images are the origin of the transmutation itself.

Touch is a sense that utilizes the largest organ in the body, the skin, to transmit information to our mind about our environment and to communicate by reaching out and into it. No other sense combines the bidirectional nature of touch, being hands one of its tools. The process of seeing, with them, is an indispensable component of the action of touching. The process of expressing with the hands is an integral component of communicating the self beyond words.


The hand, freed from its motor function, becomes a generator of objects, instruments, and shapes. Two hands, one mirroring the other, create volumes and also express our feelings and emotions. We touch and are touched by the reality that surrounds us. Thanks to the hands, we learn, and our own intelligence has evolved using the tools they have created (*).

(*) The Hand, How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture. (F.R. Wilson). Éloge de la main. (Henri Focillon). Thinking with the hands. (Manuel F. Lorenzo)

The brain, the source of speech, assimilates what they do, interprets and contextualizes it: Hands – Head – Word.

The hands see the volume they contain, and transmit it entirely to the brain. The sense of touch allows us to feel the texture and the temperature of the shape that, together with the pressure we exert, influence how we see it, thus becoming its sensory scenography.

Simultaneously, what the hands contain, if enlarged sufficiently, can take us to be contained, physically, not metaphysically, by what we contain.