Sweat, gunpowder, grass, jasmine, pine, pollution, and patchouli are some of the odors wafting around galleries, museums, and studios these days as artists incorporate scent into the esthetic experience... In the March issue of ARTnews magazine Barbara Pollack gives an overview of a lot of known contemporary artists in the field of olfactory art.
I find it personally a very interesting article because it shows that there is a lot to say about smell in art and the strenght of it. I guess from every artist that is mentioned, - and it are a lot, you could write a totally new article about olfactory art and especially their way of exploring it.
I recommend it to read.
Just to give you an idea of the artists that are described and mentioned, you find a selected list here:
Koo Jeong A, HaegueYang, Maki Ueda, Federico Díaz, Kiki Smith,, Ernesto Neto, Marcel Duchamp, Ed Kienholz, Clara Ursitti, Sue Corke, Hagen Betzwieser, Gayil Nalls, Chrysanne Stathacos, Lisa Kirk, Christophe Laudamiel, Patricia Choux, Ulrich Lang, Daniel Bozhkov, Lovett/Codagnone, Sissel Tolaas, ... and me, Peter De Cupere ;-)
Some specialists, -art critics, curators and historians, mentioned: Caro Verbeek, Jim Drobnick, Chandler Burr, Yasmil Raymond,...
Like you might have noticed some of them are member of this website. I hope a lot more will follow so this online olfactory community has potentional to increase.
There are of course a lot more olfactory artists that could have been mentioned, but it's good that the artworld starts to write more about smell as part of art so there'll be more attention to it. It would be nice that a forum like this website would be a kind of collection of artists that show there works with scents. I guess when the artworld has a wider overview of which artist is doing what with scent, they might be even more interested to see olfactory art as a real art and I'm not talking only about visual art in combination with smell but also just the gold liquid.
Or like Chandler Burr says in the article: “What interests me is helping people understand that these are actually works of art, that they are beautiful and esthetically important and meet all the criteria for art, equal in terms to painting, sculpture, music, architecture, and film.”
I guess a good way to show to a wider public that a fragrance can be a piece of art is to show it equal to visual art with a respect isolation to the environment. Actually for me it's clear that a scent can be an artwork. It's all about memory, feeling and reaction... a little molecule can throw you back in time. So actually it can have and often has more power than the visual aspect of an artwork. You can close your eyes but can't close your nose, - except when you are trained for it. The difference between the two is that the 'smell' works more on instinct and subjectivity based on the memory of a persons mind. The 'visual' is actually a way people have learned to look to things. Although they think that we interpret it on a subjective way, we have learned how to see and look to things. There are symbols, signs, social aspects that people recognize and that they can translate by knowledge. The smell is more based on a subjective way of knowing than the viewer does. Most of the time we remember something by smell just because it was present at a certain time, so we learned unconscious the relation between a scent and a certain moment, a happening and all stuff that was present at that moment. The beauty of a smell is that you can make your own mental view based on your memory feelings and on the chemical process in the body that takes place. Already for this chemical reaction of your body on a smell, - thinking about aromatherapy (not that i personally see aromatherapy as an art, because than every therapist should be called artist, - what's in a name?), I think scent has the same rights to be an artwork. It's more complex to understand and there's still a lot to tell about.
But I would say, enjoy the article Scents and Sensibility. You can find it on