Io non ho mani is the title of a poem, a collection of poems, that David Maria Turoldo, priest and poet, composes around 1935: “Io non ho mani che mi accarezzino il volto, (duro è l'ufficio di queste parole che non conoscono amori) non so le dolcezze dei vostri abbandoni: ho dovuto essere custode della vostra solitudine: sono salvatore di ore perdute”.
In 1964 the photographer Mario Giacomelli appropriates of the title for a series of pictures dedicated to the free time of a group of priests. In 2004, Elisabetta Benassi returns to the original source Io non ho mani che mi accarezzino il volto and makes it an authentic psychoanalytical transfert and visual aphorism, the intellectual space of art history: without being seen, the artist films the public that every day gathers in front of the image of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Faithful to her research of collective and subjective perception of blatant and erased or forgotten history, she translates the impossibility of fiction and anti-fiction: the desire to lightly touch the sfumato of Leonardo, the irony about the physical inaccessibility which separates the human dimension of the portrayed subject and its audience, the contemporary obsession to possess the image instead of observing it. The artist’s attempt of capturing the contradictions of a society which is always more inclined to accessing reality through a technological medium trespasses in the revelation, unexpected, of a physical contact between the Monna Lisa and an Asian traveller: the inscrutable gaze and the enigmatic smile of the woman are alchemically impressed on the face of the man. If the genius of Leonardo da Vinci condenses in the Gioconda a universal feature of the human pnêuma, Elisabetta Benassi intuitively catches its humanist and anthropocentric echo.