Last Friday saw the opening of Perfume as Practice AW17 – my solo show at Surface Gallery, Nottingham, which houses 20 perfume portraits and a series of paintings. The perfumes have been achieved through a process that begins by asking artists the question ‘why do you make art?’ The response received goes through an established method of intuition, interpretation and investigation, allowing me to combine relevant and meaningful fragrance oils that capture the essence of each individual artist.
The perfumes and paintings correspond to each other, and have been developed under the overarching theme of ‘Constellations.’ I theme my perfume shows as a means of aping fashion industry standards of bringing out seasonal themed collections.
I chose ‘Constellations’ as a theme because I believe there are parallels to astronomy and fragrance; both of them possess a degree of intangibility that isn’t fully understood. We can’t fully contemplate how our nose reads scent and we can’t fully contemplate our position within the universe, so I theorised that if we placed both notions together we may be able to develop a more considered and more personal understanding of both. Placing astronomy within the context of fragrance allows you to contemplate it from a more personal and domestic standpoint, while placing fragrance within the context of astronomy reveals it’s endless possibilities.
Furthermore, each fragrance has been placed under a painted representation of a constellation. There are five in total, each symbolising certain behaviours, desires and principles and that drive creative endeavour. The aim was to reveal connections between sets of artists and uncover different modes of creative desires. That was the initial idea anyway.
And it’s an idea which seems to have engaged the local audience; the exhibition has been very well received. It’s interesting to showing my work to an unacquainted audience with no preconceptions of me, and their response feels rather heartening, reinforcing my position as an artist using scent as a viable means of communication.
Perfume as Practice AW17 is showing at Surface Gallery until 18th November.