My own contribution to FUSE seeks to expand my Perfume as Practice Project into new avenues of investigation. St Gabrielle’s Shrine fuses fragrance with contemporary art and religion, this portrait of Coco Chanel (born Gabrielle Chanel) reveals a fragile and superstitious young woman navigating her way through the fragrance industry in an attempt to innovate and capture the spirit of the day.
Present are several references to the number 5 – which, she claimed, was a source of fortune – and a deconstructed perfume which references the concepts and considerations found within Chanel No. 5, but without arriving at the fragrance completely. More, it attempts to capture Chanel’s desire to capture the progressive spirit of the day. Placing this within the context of religion allow us to consider and assess fragrance from a different space and, as such, reveals the capacity fragrance has for narrative, portraiture, metaphor and symbolism.