The Perfume Affair

By Jo Phillips

The Perfume Affair is not an old black and white film of repressed sensual and sexual desire, one with crashing waves symbolising the ‘act of love’ (From Here to Eternity) or long lusty glances in a smokey railway station of longing (Brief Encounter) but a coming together of two art forms that explore our senses, our sight and our sense of smell. Actually called The Perfumus Affair Ten artists have been teamed with ten uniquely different fragrance brands to discuss, experiment and celebrate the ways in which these two art forms complement one another.

A one-off affair hosted between perfume specialist Aspects in conjunction with avant-garde art hall Runway Gallery was an event celebrating a mutual recognition of beautiful things: where art and perfume meet or, to explore it another way, where perfume makers and artists meet.

The result was ten original artworks to be displayed, alongside the fragrances that inspired them, in a poly-sensory exhibition harnessing the essence of beauty in its purest form.

One artist talked of how initially opening the bottle to smell the scent drew her back to specific people, places and the emotions that resonate with them. One of the perfume’s great powers is like art; it takes us places, usually, memories buried long ago that just a whiff can reanimate.

Art also takes us on a journey, wherever the image emotionally takes us we silently agree to join that artist and go with them. So, in this case, each artist was given one perfume brand and ultimately one scent from the range to explore using texture and colour.

For anyone that is fully synaesthetic (the ability to see smells and hear colours where several senses ‘come on’ at once) this may seem a relatively straightforward affair, but it takes great skill to take one form of artwork and transcribe it into another.

From initial note-taking, to fully explore perfume or artwork the process certainly has parallels, but that doesn’t mean the skills are interchangeable. However, here they sit as an ‘accompaniment’ if you like, an exploration of each other’s talents. It also allows for a deeper connection to smell and sight but with more information readily available.

The artist and perfumes in this one-off event held at Blacks in London are

Evi Antonio and the THoO (below)

Bruce Atherton and Jeroboam, (below)

Syrett and Histoires de Parfum Below (with Gerald Ghislain from Histoires de Parfum Below )

L’Orchestre Parfum with French Cowboy (image below artwork with Pierre, Founder of L’orchestre Parum)

GrAzie and Goldfield & Banks (below)


And GG Stokes and Fragrance du Bois (image on left)

The other pairs were Belinda Frikh and Jovoy, Robin Doyle and Memoize London, Sally Whelan and Contradictions in ILK, and Barry Wilson and Nishane

By experiencing the ideas of images and scent, where these two sublime crafts come together, we have a new language in many ways to express both the scent and the work of art, which can only aid our journey and make our affair with both more passionate, albeit not hidden away.

To find out more about the Runway Gallery click HERE Runwaygallery.com To find out more about Aspects beauty company Please click HERE Aspectsbeauty.net

If you enjoyed A perfume affair then why not read Unframing Art Here