Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent
Exhibition
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Perfume

A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent
21 Jun – 23 Sep 2017
£11.00 / £9.00 conc. Mon, Tue, Sat & Sun 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.00) Wed, Thu & Fri 11.00-20.00 (last entry 19.00) Except 18 & 23 Aug when the exhibition is open 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.00)
East Wing Galleries
East Wing

Multi-sensory exhibition featuring ten extraordinary perfumes and their pioneering creators, who have radically changed our perceptions of fragrance over the last 20 years.

Discover a vibrant new perfume scene, the contemporary cult perfumes shaking up scent culture and the unseen works of art worn on our skin. Contemporary perfume provocateurs are dispensing with traditional high gloss communication concepts, gender boundaries and conventional notions of good taste.

From the self-taught to the classically trained, the exhibition explores perfumers reworking their palette of ingredients to construct original and outrageous signatures which assault all of the senses. Seeking out visceral, surprising and sometimes unsavoury smells such as smoke and sweat, they evoke unexpected places or moments, rather than simply trying to mask our own odours. No longer anonymous figures working behind the scenes for big brands; the selected perfumers have opened up and are celebrating their craft with a global online community of ‘fumeheads’. Providing insights into processes, engaging in discussions and even taking inspiration from customers, they have offered a much more accessible approach to perfumery that’s unlike anything seen before.

This exhibition will take you on an olfactory journey through a series of rooms designed to reflect the inspirations of the scents, from the Moroccan desert a Catholic confessional, a water theme park to a lover’s boudoir. Each room will include visual, auditory and tactile references to the identity and influences of the perfumer to guide you on your olfactory journey. 


#perfumepioneers

Meet the Perfumers #perfumepioneers

SELECTED SCENTS

The ten perfumes and perfumers are:

DANIELA ANDRIER – PURPLE RAIN (2015)
A sumptuous re-working of traditional iris perfumes

MARK BUXTON – COMME DES GARÇONS 2 (1999)
An ultra-modern, ink-inspired fragrance

BERTRAND DUCHAUFOUR – INCENSE: AVIGNON (2002)
An olfactory portrait of French Catholic mass

OLIVIA GIACOBETTI – EN PASSANT (2000)
A fresh, floral fragrance with a twist

LYN HARRIS – CHARCOAL (2016)
A familiar, yet unexpected, intriguing fragrance

ANTOINE LIE – SÉCRÉTIONS MAGNIFIQUES (2007)
The scent of sexual pleasure

DAVID S. MOLTZ – EL COSMICO (2015)
A sensory exploration of the Texan Desert

GEZA SCHOEN – MOLECULE 01 (2007)
The skill of science meets the art of perfume

ANDY TAUER – L’AIR DU DÉSERT MAROCAIN (2005)
A fragrance inspired by the scents of the Saharan Desert

KILLIAN WELLS – DARK RIDE (2015)
A thrilling scent simulation of a water theme-park

'Smell is a way of understanding that nothing is lost.'

Daniela Andrier, perfumer

The exhibition also includes an overview of 20th-century perfumery, with an introductory installation including ten trailblazing scents of the time – one for each decade of the 20th century.  It will start with L’Origan de Coty (1905) – a hallmark perfume, now out of circulation, that will be specially recreated by Coty for the exhibition – and end with ck one (1994), the original gender-neutral fragrance of western perfume culture that led the ‘clean’ scent trend.

Perfume Podcast

Meet the perfumers: Antoine Lie

PERFUME EVENTS

Join us for a programme of talks, workshops and demonstrations complementing the exhibition, including opportunities to work with professional perfumers to concoct your own scent. During Perfume, our functioning perfume laboratory will profile the science, skills, ingredients and tools involved in the perfume industry.

 

PERFUME SHOP

An exclusive range of products including scented postcard sets and the exhibition catalogue are available from our Perfume pop-up shop, along with specially sourced perfumes and booksA selection of exclusive items are also available from our online shop.

 

Conceived and curated by Claire Catterall, Senior Curator at Somerset House, and co-curated by Lizzie Ostrom, aka Odette Toilette.

Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent
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With additional support from

Official retail partner