Perfume: A Sensory Journey
21 June – 17 September
London WC2R 1LA
Discover a vibrant new perfume scene this summer at Somerset House, the contemporary cult perfumes shaking up scent culture and the unseen works of art worn on our skin. Contemporary perfume provocateurs are dispensing with traditional high gloss communication concepts, celebrity-backed campaigns, gender boundaries and conventional notions of good taste.
Curated by Claire Catterall of Somerset House and co-curated by yours truly, the exhibition explores both classically-trained and self-taught perfumers reworking their palette of ingredients to construct original and outrageous signatures which assault all of the senses. Seeking out visceral, surprising and sometimes unsavoury smells such as smoke and sweat, they evoke unexpected places or moments, rather than simply trying to mask our own odours or sell us a lifestyle. No longer anonymous figures working behind the scenes for big brands; the selected perfumers have opened up and are celebrating their craft with a global online community of fans and fanatics. Providing insights into processes, engaging in discussions and even taking inspiration from customers, they have offered a much more modern and accessible approach to perfumery that’s unlike anything seen before.
Perfume begins with a brief overview of the origins of modern perfumery and an introduction to the historical innovators of the industry, before taking you on a sensory journey through a series of interconnected rooms in which you can fully immerse yourself in the stories of the ten signature scents. You can find out the first five perfumers to be announced on the Somerset House website, but keep checking back as we reveal more!
The exhibition explores the work of perfumers at the forefront of the industry, propelling perfume into more daring olfactory and creative directions, challenging classic definitions of scent and reshaping the mainstream market.
Tickets can be booked on the Somerset House website.