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Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent

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by Caroline Haack (subscribe)
Fine art student and freelance writer from Paris, living in London.
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The new Somerset House exhibition
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The prestigious London cultural institution, Somerset House, offers an exhibition from June 21st that is an olfactory trip, with the assistance of curators Claire Catterall and Lizzie Ostrom a.k.a Odette Toilette. The exhibition will present ten fragrant creations that have marked a profound upheaval in the production and apprehension of smells over the past twenty years, and which have somehow revolutionized the market.

Art and perfumes are cleverly united, in a reciprocity and similarity. Smells are no longer just an adjuvant but support the sense of authenticity of ethnographic works, and are at the heart of all museology. This exhibition aims to propose a historical vision of perfumes while reminding us of their singularity and extravagance.

Light plays here on the innovative and creative audacity of these compositions, which overturns conventions, plays on extremes, and questions all the symbolism of the value system attached to smell. The aim of the exhibition is to shake our representations, by rediscovering these disturbing perfumes.

The exhibition also wants to celebrate the talent of these perfumers, who come out of anonymity in order to gain recognition for their status as creators and artists. An additional history of perfumery will be present with the exploration of famous perfumes of the twentieth century. Every different room is for a different perfume and has visual, auditory and tactile elements that are key to the inspiration of the perfumer in order for you to understand this journey.

Here is the selection of 10 perfumes that will be presented:
Purple Rain (2015), Prada, by Daniela Andrier
Comme des garçons 2 (1999), Comme des garçons, by Mark Buxton
Incense: Avignon (2002), Comme des garçons, by Bertrand Duchaufour
En passant (2000), Frédéric Malle, by Olivia Giacobetti
Charcoal (2016), Perfumer H, by Lyn Harris
Sécrétions magnifiques (2007), État Libre d'Orange, by Antoine Lie
El Cosmico (2015), D.S. & Durga, by David S. Moltz
Molecule 01 (2007), Escentric Molecules, by Geza Schoen
L'Air du désert marocain (2005), Tauer Perfumes, by Andy Tauer
Dark Ride (2015), Xyrena, by Killian Wells
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When: From 21 June to 17 September 2017
Where: Strand, London WC2R 1LA, Royaume-Uni
Cost: Full price £11.00, concessions £9.00
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