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Scent in Art

Portfolio List
Scent in Art
22/03 – 02/08/2015

There’s Somethin in the Air! –
Scent in Art
22/03 – 02/08/2015

The view, that captures images, and the reproduction of the seen dominated the visual arts over many centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century, the primacy of the visual perception of the world has been questioned and renegotiated by many artists.

The Futurists may be considered as those avant-garde, who with the appreciation of sounds, noises and smells put themselves at the beginning of a development which in the 1960s culminated in the formulation of new concepts of art and in the emergence of multi-sensory forms of art. Hearing, feeling and smelling won and win an increasing importance in the artistic practice.

The exhibition at the Museum Villa Rot traces the importance of the olfaction and its different roles in the artistic debate now and during the avant-garde. As biochemical messages scents arouse feelings, memories and subjective or collectively conditioned associations. Scents provoke, they can be attractive or repulsive, can influence, deceive and seduce emotions. They affect social and sexual behavior, they are triggers for sympathy and antipathy and can even change the hormonal status. The consumer goods industry increasingly takes advantaged of some of these qualities.

Artists use olfactory stimulants often subversive and thus treat timeless and current questions of our society. They pick the issues of Fragrantes and seductive Ambrosiacos from animals, plants and perfumery as well as the associated desires of paradise and eroticism. They analyze the odor pattern of landscapes and settlement areas. They deal with the ambivalent relation to our body odor, decrypt the molecular structures of frag-rances, reveal the discrepancy between experiences of natural and synthetic origin, reflect aspects of air pollution and show that a more sensitive perception of the environment
through the nose in the 21st century is more relevant than ever.

The exhibition at the Museum Villa Rot presents installations by international contemporary artists, who examine the sense of smell and fragrances, their cause, composition, effect and memory potential under different aspects. It also provides an art historical excursion which delivers insight into Futuristic and Surrealistic approaches and theories. Olfactory heritage is volatile, but an essential part of our material culture, and (art historical) past.

The exhibition is (co-)curated by Caro Verbeek (olfactory art historian) as part of her PhD-project ‘In Search of Scents Lost – Reconstructing the Aromatic Heritage of the Avant-garde’. It will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue.

: The artists

Peter De Cupere
Marcel Duchamps
Ayse Erkmen
Heribert Friedl
Helga Griffiths
Job Koelewijn
Klara Ravat
Gayil Nalls
Ernesto Neto
Christine Söffing
Maki Ueda
Clara Ursitti
Luca Vitone
Avans Hogeschool, Breda

Here you find the exhibition folder as download.

With kindly support