04 | Art and Perfume
Some perfumers have fought all their lives to get their work recognized as art. Others, on the contrary, place themselves at the service of a lucrative business. How should we approach this composite thing called perfume, the fruit of the minds of those who create it and a fantasized projection of those who crave it? We examine the issue from philosophical, aesthetic, historical, legal and, of course, artistic viewpoints – for the world of art, most often intended for our eyes and ears only, is also becoming enamored with the emotional power of smell.
The fourth edition of Nez continues our olfactory exploration, breaking down yet more confines, conventions and preconceptions around our sense of smell.
We open with olfactory icons including Andy Warhol, chemist George de Laire, philosopher Chantal Jaquet and neuroscientist John P. McGann.
The nose of designers reveals some olfactory secrets of the profession.
In our Odorama section, we learn about how the blind perceive odour, the story of ionones – the molecules that make the fragrance of violets – and the olfactory secrets of the carrot. And, without breaking the law, we immerse ourselves in the aroma of drugs, both soft and hard.
Among the Connections pages, you can read an open letter from a young perfumer to their elders, discover the olfactory world of Sarah Bernhardt, take a fragrant, urban tour of Amsterdam, take in Roberto Greco‘s photography, get to know Olivier Roellinger and learn how, for him, the nose and mouth are linked, and experience a Fantin-Latour painting through smell.
In the Magazine section, Annick Menardo, the creator of Bois d’argent, Lolita Lempicka and Hypnotic Poison, gives us her thoughts on the perfumer’s craft and her opinion on the industry. And from plantation to bottle, a photo-essay on oud, which everyone talks about without really understanding. An olfactory flashback whisks us off to the 1970s, while the fantasy perfumery has recommendations for some of that decade’s biggest names.
Our special feature draws on the close and complex links between perfume and art by seeking to answer the following questions: is perfumery an art? Is the perfumer an artist? Is perfume a creative oeuvre? What is an artistic director? How are perfume and aromas involved in today’s art? Analysis and opinion from legal, philosophical, artistic, historical and industrial perspectives.
The perfume pages help us to better understand this ever-changing industry, with a portrait of Oman’s independent brand Amouage, an investigation into counterfeiting, and the genealogy of the most famous perfume – Chanel No5.
The Selection sniffs out our favourite 30 perfumes from the vast array of new releases, as well as a handful of new toiletries and home fragrances that have recently caught our attention.
Finally, an agenda of not-to-be-missed olfactory listings: a growing number of new books, exhibitions and other events related to smell and perfume.
Published: Nov. 2017