This week I have bid a fond farewell to Desire & Alchemy – my joint exhibition with Emilia Telese at Basement Arts Project.
I had grown somewhat attached to Desire & Alchemy during its 3 month run, more so than any other exhibition I have staged. I think this is because a tangible collaboration existed not only between myself and Emilia, but also with BasementArtsProject’s owner Bruce Davies: All three of us engaged the audience with the underlying concept, and through written text, conversation, exhibiting and hosting, we have each contributed meaningfully to the overall discourse surrounding scent within contemporary art.
Next week I travel to Athens to participate in Platforms Project – an independent art fair in the heart of the city. It’s the 3rd time I will have entered work into the art fair, and the 2nd time I’ve directly been involved in the curation and installation of my work.
This year my participation in Platforms Project will once again take the guise of a group exhibition. The exhibition, entitled ‘Wonderer’ seeks to reacquaint an audience with Ancient Greek appropriations of the planets.
The exhibition comprises 3 artists – myself, Sharon Mossbeck and Alison Whitmore – and we have taken 3 planets each to interpret, explore and interpret from an Ancient Greek context. My chosen planets are Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. Or, as the Ancient Greeks would have it; Ouranous, Kronos and Zeus – three Greek Gods with a family lineage.
So how does a fine art perfumer go about creating something from these three Gods? Well, by taking advantage of the family lineage and utilising the capacity fragrance has for narrative, metaphor and I have encapsulated the planets of Ouranous, Kronos and Zeus in three separate fragrances.
Each fragrance contains potent spices and woody notes; alluding to their godly, confident qualities and direct family history. Yet they also contain delicate floral notes, zesty fruits and earthy spices in an attempt to describe each God’s individual narrative.
Each perfume is a portrait of the respective God and is as rich and complex as you might expect from portraiture. Hopefully my audience at Platforms Project will agree that my unique approach to perfumery reveals a meaningful and untapped art form.
Jack F. Rabbit 50ml EDT
Head – Petitgrain, bitter orange
Heart – Camphor, carrot seed
Body – Rosewood
Description – Assertive, positive, and an ode to creativity, petitgrain and bitter inspires the confidence and mental agility required to pursuit creative action while alluding to the instinctive joy of creation. Clarity of intent is referenced by camphor and carrot seed, which also adds a playful and subversive flourish. Yet this fragrance finishes with Rosewood, which, while attaining a sense of spirit, also calms and grounds, allowing one to express feelings pertinently.
This perfume is one of fifteen housed at Bureau, Blackburn from 12th – 26th April as part of my solo exhibition, Perfume as Practice.
During October 2017 I created 7 artists’ perfume portraits during my residency at Orchard Square, Sheffield. The process departed somewhat from what I have established in previous exhibitions; This time the artists themselves were actually present and directly engaged in the discourse surrounding their creative intentions, processes and behaviours.
This shift in my process intended to reveal the possibilities surrounding interpreting cognitive behaviours and patterns, and whether utilising such possibilities resulted in more coherent perfumery. I think the results are inconclusive as the number of perfumes created this way isn’t comprehensive enough, but I had fun all the same!
With many thanks to the artists who afforded their time for me to make their perfume portrait:
Claire Lee; Sharon Mossbeck; Brian Daines; Lyn Carrauthers; Miranda Trojanowska; Ryoko Akama; Joanine Carmelino.
My research findings towards perfumery have so far proved to be of great value – as a novice to perfumery, it has been fascinating learning the physical properties of perfume, the tension between scent and trying to read scent, understanding how smell works in relation to how we connect with the world and the different ways perfume is considered. Indeed, my findings can be directly and successfully applied to my work – allowing me to make informed decisions towards how to create perfume and how to use perfume to successfully accommodate my concepts. However, as the end result of my work intends to be that of creative practice, I have thought it both appropriate and valuable to find visual outputs for my research.
And so, I have began exploiting the nature of the advertisement to the point where is is able to become a visual representation of research, to the point where research is able to be displayed in a way which is applicable to an audience, allowing them to assess the end product in relation to the research:
Why? Well, if I’m going to create what is essentially a perfume shop, then I want it to retain a shop’s inherent consumerist statements whilst attempting to almost subvert the notion of the advert – essentially, it will speculate what an advert will look like when it’s not trying to sell anything. Indeed, what it is doing instead is acting as an appendage to the shop environment whilst finding a practical way to display research findings. Also, it’s nice to see an advert for perfume that is actually quite literal, and not the usual idle lifestyle metaphors, don’t you think?!
I would hope that these ‘adverts’ would inform an audiences understanding of the perfumes I will create, as well as bolster the underlining concept – that of finding non-visual ways of completing incomplete visual ideas.