Where to begin? Not since John Waters’ 1981 film Polyester with scratch ‘n sniff ‘Odorama’ have I seen anything like Peter De Cupere’s Olfactory Art. Apparently, a growing number of artists around the world are incorporating scent into their works. Belgian artist De Cupere creates smell installations, scent sculptures, olfactory performances, smell-movies and scented painting. He generates a sort of meta-sensory experience that goes beyond purely seeing or smelling. He started playing with, and noticing, fragrances as a child, fearing that he would lose his vision. He attributes his fascination with the combination of smell and visual to that early-life fear. De Cupere is also fascinated with people’s desire to change or cover their natural smell with perfume in order to be more attractive to others. He seems to be a firm believer in the natural, and not over-washing.
I find all his work very interesting, if a bit bizarre. From top to bottom here are some of his works:
Sweat: Peter De Cupere collected the sweat of dancers wearing plastic suits during a 15-minute performance choreographed by Jan Fabre. He applied the concentrated essence, enclosed in a glass box, to a wall at the dance company’s home base, in Antwerp. Visitors can smell it through a hole in the glass.
Air Polluter: an interactive smell installation which allows the visitor to decide in how far he or she contributes to pollution of the air. By means of a control panel at the start of the installation, visitors can activate good as well as bad smells. This subdivision into two so called Smell Fields is based on the socially accepted appreciation of the various smells.
Smoke Room: a smell installation made of more than 750,000 cigarette butts.
Smile Room: a smell installation made with 3400 tubes toothpaste, pu-components, creating an intense minty toothpaste smell.
Tree Virus: Smell-installation with intensive peppermint smell. Visitors start to cry by entering the plastic dome. The main fragrance is an intense mix of peppermint in combination of black pepper.
Flower Fragum Cardamomi: first Scratch ‘n Sniff Sculpture in the world, 9 meters high. Made of epoxy, metal, 1000 strawberries and cardamon.
Olfactory Tree: scented sculpture made completely of epoxy and fake. Fragrances: pine, cedre, forest, mushrooms, grass
Garbage City Holiday Jina Park: a smell installation made to look like garbage but smelling of pine & cedar, honey mustard, and peach-cassis.
Smell Me Project: People’s necks are stamped with the words “smell me” and everyone goes around sniffing each other exploring others’ scents and which attract and repel.
Olfactiano: A piano-like instrument that emits different smells when played called ‘Scent Concerts.’
There’s much more to explore if you find this as fascinating as I do. For older work check De Cupere’s website, and for more recent his facebook page. Click through the links above for more on the individual projects.
Oh, and he’s making a perfume called ‘Peter’ of his own smells, coming out soon, so keep an eye out for that!
via saatchi online