July 4, 2015

Art Object of The Week: Sabaya Perfume

Is smell a thing in the arts? I haven’t encountered it yet, except for Marcel Duchamp’s Belle Haleine and even there I can’t associate a specific smell to it. Maybe I just don’t know about smell art. That happens - also post-internet art passed me by without me noticing it. Maybe smell is just too ephemeral to be sold on the art market. Or maybe it’s Plato's fault for considering the eye and the ear as more important aids than the nose. But talk to any whine-buff or relationsship-specialist and they will tell you that your nose is in the middle of your face for a reason. Only recently sound made it into the gallery, so maybe smell will be up and coming next. Of course, popular culture was first. Smell has already been big in film and literature - we all remember Scent of a Woman (“If you're tangled up, just tango on.”) and the enormous popularity of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume. And not long ago I did have an olfactory experience in an art context. It was at the museum in Stonetown and it was the guide who smelled great. The smell wasn’t too dominant - it was rather like freshly washed clothes and it totally enhanced the guided tour. Being a guide myself at a museum, I was inspired. So I asked him what perfume he’s using. He told me and he even went to get me a bottle. It’s called Sabaye, it’s a unisex perfume with a chocolaty musky scent. If you want to smell it too, feel free to come to my guided tours in Hamburger Bahnhof. 

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