The art of scent

A recently opened exhibition in Madrid focuses on artworks that you can’t see, hear or touch – but instead you have to smell.

Perfume

The Art of Scent at the Círculo de Bellas Artes is, organisers claim, the first exhibition that presents and analyses scent as a work of art.

It focuses on a selection of perfumes including Prada Amber, Guerlain’s Jicky and Chanel No5 and attempts to place them in the context of art history.

Perfume

This presented something of a challenge for exhibition designer Cano Estudio, which had to showcase the scents in isolation, without decoration, containers or packaging.

Consultancy founder Jesús Cano says: “It was about creating a space that was attractive, even while doing virtually nothing and remaining practically empty.”

Perfume

The solution is a series of “bubbles” around the edge of the room, each of which contains a different scent and allows the visitor to experience this.

Cano says: “We sought a space that intrinsically invited visitors to lower their voices, breathe deep and for a few moments disconnect from the outside world.”

Perfume

The Madrid exhibition follows an earlier show at New York’s Museum of Art and Design, where Diller Scofidio + Renfro created an exhibition design based around a series of wall depressions that released scented streams of air.

The Art of Scent, 1889-2014, is at Círculo de Bellas Artes, Calle de Alcalá, Madrid, until 4 February.

Perfume

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