On awakening, you open one eye. You gently rub this eye with one finger, to make sure you’re really real. There is what you see and what you touch. The more you see, the more you look. The more you touch, the more you’re touched.
Five thousand years ago in Greece, artists in the Cyclades probably touched a great many faces to be able to carve such refined heads of women in marble, so exquisite that they still remain a mystery to all of humanity. When you look at them, you can feel their faces in the palm of your hand. When you actually stand in front of one of these “Cycladic icons,” it’s almost as if you were seeing the mental images created by a blind person who frenetically touched a woman’s face to visualize her beauty.
Feel yourself. Touch others. Davide Balula, a young French artist born in 1978, asked mimes to close their eyes and touch world-famous sculptures by artists like Brancusi and Giacometti, to memorize the shapes and re-create them through mime. Sculptural mimes. I saw their performance at Art Basel last year: initially, the movements of the arms and fingers seemed random, meaningless. And then curves, angles, solid and empty shapes, ideas, forms of beauty appeared. A hand can carve marble, but it can also shape the air and humanity.
We touch our faces 250 times a day, those who practice Do In do so much more frequently. Invented by Taoist Chinese doctors, Do In involves liberating vital energy by pressing on areas of your body where you feel pain or tension. You press down on the pain; at first, the pain increases, then the energy starts to circulate once again. “Hurt once, a thousand times better,” as the Chinese say. A balm, skin deep.