The Reg Vardy Gallery at the University of Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, England, will host If There Ever Was: an exhibition of extinct and impossible smells:
In his book of essays entitled, Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, the physician Lewis Thomas wrote, “The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking itself.” And it is with this appreciation of smell as comparable to thought and interpretation that the exhibition If There Ever Was considers scent as integral to the perception of abstraction and representation.
Scent is the essence of physical presence and lends proof to our surroundings. Contrastingly, the fourteen scents re-created for If There Ever Was are inspired by absence. Like a cabinet of intangible curiosities, their forms are drawn from disparate stories throughout history for which few, if any, objects remain. And although it would be easy to pass the exhibition off as a work of pure fantasy—the product of an over-active perfumer’s imagination—beneath the olfactory theatricality lies a serious scientific basis, says James Wong, a botanist at Botanic Gardens Conservation International, UK.
The participating artists include Kóan Jeff Baysa, Mark Buxton, Bertrand Duchaufour, Christoph Hornetz, Christophe Laudamiel, Patricia Millns, Steven Pearce, David Pybus - Scents of Time, Geza Schön, Sissel Tolaas, and Maki Ueda.
The exhibit runs from 4/29 through 6/6.
Update: see a review of the booklet that accompanied the exhibit.