Late March – the 25th to be exact – provided me with my first opportunity to place ‘Perfume as Practice’ within a public realm. This was more beneficial than I had initially anticipated: As I still felt as though I am navigating my way through perfumery in order to hit on something relevant to fine art practice, I expected my project to not quite be ready for public contemplation. In fact the opposite was true – being able to talk to people about my project actually enabled a clearer direction to emerge.
It is decided that my perfume will act as portraiture. A portraiture of artists, in fact. You see, I am interested in the parallels that exist between artists using their art as a mask – a version of their truth that they are willing to transmit into the public domain – and how perfume can be used as a mask. However, instead of embracing these parallels I wish to disrupt them. I will use perfume as a means of unmasking the artist, creating a raw and sincere portrait that removes any embellishment an artist places upon themselves. The aim is to at once re-imagine and question the possibilities of scent and perfumery – allowing them the capacity for portraiture in a way what defies their original functionality – whilst simultaneously reflecting on how artists construct their identity, and how forms of portraiture can eek out true identity.
So how will I go about doing this? Why, by asking artists a simple question – ‘What defines you as an artist?’ The answers I receive from this question will contain clues which I will decipher, then render – in a somewhat alchemic manner – into a portrait made from perfume: A direct assessment of the artists’ identity contained within a bottle of essential oils and aroma compounds. These perfumes will then go on to be displayed within an exhibition at Bank Street Arts in February next year. If you are an artist and you wish to be involved, simply answer the question ‘What defines you as an artist?’ and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks 🙂