I finally got the chance to see Chandler Burr’s scent exhibition at the MAD. While there are a whole bunch of people who have blogged about this experience and have their opinions (good and bad), mine was a short learning experience filled with absolute gratitude. Why? Well, because this was the first time I had every seen anything like this and while the perfumes were nothing new to me, I appreciated the thought that went into creating a scented space such as this.
I went with my darling Ashley, who had been kind enough to host my entire stay in New York (thanks babe, you’re the best!)
As soon as the elevator doors opened, the blend of all scents hit us in the face and we looked at each other and smiled. As if we both had been struck by some beautiful force, giving us chills, instant gratification, and a whole lot of excitement.
The Star Wars-esque introduction text on the ground was appealing and a good way to start the exhibition. Twelve perfumes - from Jicky to Untitled…I wish there was more!
The scent-diffusion technology was interesting; some guy came up to us at one point claiming he had “a great nose for these things” and practically said that none of the perfumes ‘smelled the same’. Even though we didn’t disagree, it is important to point out that because these perfumes were not in liquid form (and specifically formulated for this kind of diffusion technique), of course they smell different! It’s all about the delivery.
Another way to smell the perfumes was available: by placing smelling strips in clear vats, all in a row on a long transparent table.
The silica scent-infused balls would shoot out each scent in intervals. While I thought the look of it all was a little strange (butt hole pods anyone?), I loved the ‘sound of breathing’ that was produced as a result. I found it to be quite meditative.
Also, I would go back there any day just to see the wonderfully talented Sophia Grojsman’s creative process. I thought it was a great idea and it left me craving more! Trésor is one of my all time favourite perfumes, can you believe it was made over 20 years ago?
All in all, a great start to what I like to believe is a new direction for perfumery. Making it more accessible to the public is a way to shed light onto the industry. Yes, the perfumes are all commercial. Yes, they are best-sellers…but how many exhibitions have you seen about scent and the world of perfume? This paves the way for more. For the future development of interactive scent installations, for acceptance of the art of perfumery, for niche perfumers to showcase their independent works in a new fashion etc…
And let’s give credit where credit is due, it is still interesting to see Burr’s train of thought here. He constructed an olfactive evolutionary narrative for anyone and everyone. So it’s just the beginning people!
I’m totally kicking myself for not being able to see the Art & Scent exhibition at the Dillon Gallery, if you get a chance to see it, go for it! You know it’s going to be good when Christophe Laudamiel is behind it!