There is absolutely no running in this post, not even running for a train or bus, sorry.
There will be a lot of talk about perfume, Gorilla Perfume to be exact.
Gorilla perfume are the father & son team, Mark and Simon Constantine, who started the range of perfumes at Lush to combat the mass market generic scents virulent on the high street.
Perfume is the point!
And to show everyone that Gorilla Perfume have set up “Voice of Reason – Exhibition of Olfactory Works” in Red Gallery on Rivington Street, London.
So, just exactly does one go about displaying perfume as works of art?
Well, that’s exactly what me & four others from Lush Preston went to find out.
So being a Lush employee I had a little idea of what the perfumes are all about but, to be frank, the gallery blew my mind sideways a little. The idea of perfumes being just a scent, stops once you’ve experienced them in the way they were presented at the gallery.
I’ve been debating what to say about the perfumes and the exhibit, I’m only a baby perfume geek & if I give you a blow by blow account of each scent, I won’t do them justice or give you something you couldn’t find someplace else, however I’ve left London this afternoon and spent most of the train journey home frantically trying to put into words how awesome the experience was, so clearly it’s left me full of excitement.
But I still haven’t answered the question, “how do you display perfume as works of art?”
I think it’s all about putting you in the headspace of Mark & Simon Constantine (the Gorilla Perfumers) at the time the scents were conceived and leading you through that journey.
The exhibition isn’t something you stand and observe, it’s sight & sound and touch and smell, all giving you a deeper understanding of just why each scent is just so.
I don’t want to spoil it, or spend too much time talking about Perfume & art on a running blog, (but if anyone asks I’ll happily spill all the beans) so I’ll just mention my two most favorite moments out of all 20ish fragrances at the gallery.
The Bug / The sun The bug is a 21st century scent with the idea of CCTV & paranoia rooted in its concept and with The Bug by Magnetic Man played to you via some cordless headphones you’re sent to wander a dark maze with TV screens showing distorted CCTV type footage of yourself and you stumble upon a wall of screens.
As the music plays and you wander around in the almost dark not certain what comes next the air is filled with the peppery scent of The Bug fragrance.
You near the end of The Bug experience & leave the headphones behind and step through a black curtain into The Sun!
The room is bright the air is filled with crisp orange and citrus scents, there are beech huts & sand and on the wall images of birds and out doors.
As I stepped out from the curtains to the brightness I laughed out loud, and it’s that moment that captures perfectly the feeling that comes with The Sun fragrance. It’s uplifting, it’s happy and bright.
It’s that moment, the transition between the two experiences that was the highlight of the gallery for me, but speaking with others and knowing how scent is such a personal experience I really do urge anyone able to get there to visit before the exhibition closes on Christmas Eve. Go Visit! Breathe deeply and take an open mind.
If you don’t manage to get there in the next week (hurry hurry!) I’d still suggest you head over there as the G Perfume “pop up shop” will be there for another 5 months, the staff there really know the perfumes ( & incense) and are happy to spend the time talking you through all the new & old scents.