Almost three weeks has past since Perfume as Practice – my exhibition at Bank Street Arts – closed. It’s been a reasonably quiet period, comprising chiefly of plotting further navigations into the world of perfumery. Something persistent from the exhibition that I keep mentally revisiting is the idea that, although Perfume as Practice was successful and very well received, I still feel as though I could improve it.
It’s just as well, seeing as it was the first time I outwardly projected my approach to perfumery. I know full well that the quality of the perfume, while ok, still lacked a degree of authenticity needed to propel the exhibition from an arts space to a speculative perfumery space. This is something I wanted to do as to engage a wider audience.
I wanted the exhibition to reveal itself as a fine art endeavour, while initially appearing as a perfume shop. I wanted to do this as to reassess the virtues of a shop space, how we experience and identify with consumer products and how we can disrupt this process. In reality, I think my audience simply entered the space knowing it was an art exhibition about perfume. Perhaps a different approach to marketing was required, along with better quality bottles. I suppose it doesn’t matter too much, though it is important to understand the failings of an exhibition if you are to progress.
And what of the idea of creating perfume portraits? Well, I feel slightly conflicted about it. You see, I tend to strive for new ideas without attempting to define and develop them. It almost feels counter-intuitive to persist with the idea of perfume portraits, as my mind is filled with other ideas I wish to explore.
Though persist I certainly will. I do feel rather buoyed about just how well the exhibition was received. The idea of making portraits from perfume is very accessible yet innovative, and this is still the case. Therefore it seems correct to continue creating perfume portraits and attempting to extend our knowledge of what scent, perfume and portraiture can be.
Perhaps – heaven forbid – I am displaying a little maturity with Perfume as Practice. 5 years ago, I would have flitted between ideas without attempting to refine, define or meaningfully develop. A more disciplined head is telling me that developing the idea of perfume portraits will engage a wide audience whilst still striving for innovative and exciting ways of making art.