Perfume as Practice AW17 housed 15 perfumes at Bureau Centre for the Arts, Blackburn, from 12th – 26th April 2018. Each perfume was a portrait of another artist, achieved through my established process that begins by asking artists ‘why do you make art?’ then interpreting the response received through a method of intuition and investigation.
In an effort to establish connections between each portrait, the exhibition was housed under the theme of ‘saints’. This theme was chosen as a means to link the exhibition with the history and architecture of the space, which is a former church. I also deduced that placing the themes of perfumery and religion beside each other may reveal unexpected similarities between them as both have a certain intangibility that is difficult to fully comprehend.
Four painted symbols of saints were incorporated into the show, and perfumes relevant to each saint were placed below them in a manner that apes the aesthetics of a domestic shrine. I theorised that placing perfumery within the context of religion would reveal it’s spiritual possibilities, while placing religion within the context of fragrance may reveal it’s domestic and personal tenancies.
The saints I chose for the show were carefully selected in reference to the responses received to the question ‘why do you make art?’ I ensured that relevant fragrances were placed beside relevant saints. For example Saint Gabriel is a saint synonymous with the notion of communication, as such, the fragrance placed beneath his symbolic representation (a trumpet) were of artists that cited communication as the chief reason why they make art.
The exhibition included an opening night, talk and a perfume making workshop, which gave participants an opportunity to directly explore the possibilities of fragrance by making a perfume of their own.
Many thanks to the artists whose perfume portraits were housed in Perfume as Practice AW18. Here is a description of each or their perfumes (links open in a new window):