Madrid hosts first museum exhibition on perfumes as works of art

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Madrid hosts first museum exhibition on perfumes as works of art
El Arte del Perfume is an updated version and the European premiere of The Art of Scent 1889-2012 that drew 150.000 visitors in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Photo: Cano Estudio.

MADRID.- Until February 4, the prestigious cultural institute Círculo de Bellas Artes in the heart of Madrid hosts El Arte del Perfume 1889-2014. This exhibition, by curator Chandler Burr, presents perfumes as works of art, their creators as artists and places the works in art historical context.

El Arte del Perfume is an updated version and the European premiere of The Art of Scent 1889-2012 that drew 150.000 visitors in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. The exhibition includes works lent by Guerlain, Chanel, Thierry Mugler, Prada, Diptyque, Dior, Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Loewe. The exhibition is in Spanish and English.

Chandler Burr: ‘Scent is obviously a major art medium, entirely the equal of paint, clay, music, and all the others. By any rational definition of art, works of scent meet all the criteria applied to works created in every other medium. In 2014 we perceive scent works the way we perceived photographs in 1950: nothing more than small mirrors of reality, completely objective, and void of intent or aesthetic value. We now understand they are drenched in subjectivity, thoroughly manipulated by the artists who create these images, filled with aesthetics, like all art. Photography is universally recognized today as a major art medium. Scent, in 2014, is laboring under a 1950s-style obtuseness, but within a decade or so I think scent will become the next photography, recognized by art historians, critics, gallerists and the public.’

The exhibition presents the following aesthetic schools and perfumes. Romanticism: Jicky, by Aimé Guerlain for Guerlain; Modernism: Chanel No 5, by Ernest Beaux for Chanel; Surrealism: Angel by Olivier Cresp for Thierry Mugler; Neo-Romanticism: Prada Amber, by Carlos Benaïm, Max Gavarry and Clément Gavarry for Prada; Photo-Realism: Eau de Lierre, by Fabrice Pellegrin for Dyptique; Contemporary Figuratism: J’Adore l’Absolu by François Demachy for Dior; Neo-Classicism: Aqua Universalis by Francis Kurkdjian for Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Retro XXth-Century: Aura by Emilio Valeros for Loewe.

Chandler Burr is one of the most recognized experts on scent as an artistic medium. From 2006 to 2010 he was scent critic of the New York Times. He is author of the books “The Emperor of Scent”, “The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York”, and “Dior: The Perfumes”. Burr is director of the Department of Olfactory Art, based in New York. In the past year he curated two other exhibitions: Timeless Scents: 1370 to 2013 in the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and Hyper-Natural: Scent from Design to Art at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

The exhibition can be visited until February 4 in the Sala Minerva in Círculo de Bellas Artes, C/Alcala 42, Madrid. Entry is 3 euro and gives access to all CBA-exhibitions. El Arte del Perfume – with content in both Spanish and English – is open from Tuesday to Saturday 11.00-14.00 and 17.00-21.00 and Sunday from 11.00 to 14.00. Cano Estudio designed the exhibition.

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Madrid hosts first museum exhibition on perfumes as works of art

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