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Perfume as Practice AW18

Perfume as Practice AW18 was housed at BasementArtsProject, Leeds, from 18th November 2018 – 28th January 2019 as part of a two-artist's show called 'Desire and Alchemy'.

This particular range of fragrances takes several departures from previous Perfume as Practice exhibitions. Previously, Perfume as Practice has comprised of perfume portraits of other artists, achieved through an established method of interpretation and investigation. However, in an effort to evaluate and assess the perfume portraits I have designed up to this point, and in order to place my work within a socially engaged frame, this time I have presented fragrances that represented the reasons why artists make art. Each perfume is numbered and each number corresponds to a reason why an artist would make art. These reasons range from the compulsive, inherent need to create to the desire to contribute to knowledge through considered creative action. Each reason has been responded to through scent design, revealing the capacity perfume has as a means of presenting research and qualitative data. 


This is also the first time Perfume as Practice has been placed alongside the work of another artist similarly interested in representing the olfactory in contemporary art, Emilia Telese. Telese’s work, entitled Scents of Self, utilises body, image, fragrance and scratch and sniff technology to reveal facets of the self. Emilia and I also developed a joint piece of work; a triptych which highlighted the rich, vibrant history of perfumery and hw it has the capacity to house contemporary art concepts. 


One similarity to previous Perfume as Practice incarnations is the fact that once again have framed the fragrance collection around a theme. Not only does this ape industry conventions of bringing out themed collections, but it also allows me to respond to certain spaces. The theme of Perfume as Practice AW18 is alchemy, and as such, is adorned with visual embellishment and symbolism the pertains to alchemist practices.


In an effort to reveal the capacity has for scent to describe the creative process Perfume as Practice AW18 includes two auxiliary fragrances. Chrysopoeia is unscented, and references the initial steps of undergoing creative practice. Magnum Opus contains the scent of each perfume housed in Perfume as Practice AW18, and references when creative endeavour reaches fruition.


I would like to thank Bruce Davies – owner of BasementArtsProject – for his continued support of the exhibition and for all his hard work; and Emilia Telese, for contributing to the development of Perfume as Practice by means of collaboration, and for being a joy to work with.

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