cultural production

ANDREAS WILHELM: Artistic Collaborations in Scent

Some people are forces of nature, and we’re lucky to have a few of them as advisors / associates here at Scent Art Net. One such person is Andreas Wilhelm, a perfumer based in Zurich, Switzerland, who collaborates extensively with artists, helping them realize their ideas and take them to the next level. In the past six months alone, he has worked with no less than ten artists on some seven artistic projects! So, here is a rundown of his recent collaborations.

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Starting in October 2016, Andreas worked with six artists on a project that was part of a program for young artists at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland called Intervention. Titling their work “104’277 m3 Campus HSG“, the artists – Lea-Nina Fischer, Tamara Hauser, Salima Hänni, Selina Hofer, Stefanie Janssen & Esther Tellenbach – sought to capture the scent of the university of St. Gallen with a mobile research lab, various instruments and a working journal. They examined the life and olfactory nuances at the university, and with the help of Andreas, translated these impressions and insights into a fragrance, which could be smelled on campus for the last two days of the intervention week. You can read more about this project (in German) here.

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Then Andreas collaborated with artist Ines Lechleitner on her exhibition, Das Rhein Rauschen, which ran at Villa Renata in Basel, Switzerland from November till December 2016 (curated by Emilie Bruner). You can read more about this collaboration in our earlier coverage of it on Scent Art News.

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At the same, Andreas collaborated with another artist, Manon Bellet, for her exhibition A la recherche d’une intimité perdue which ran at the Contemporary Art Center of Labanque in Béthune, France from October 2016 till February 2017 (curated by Léa Bismuth). The work featured a fragrance composed of fifty different molecules, including a high proportion of tuberose, evoking scents of the earth, combining the human body, extracts from the wetlands, decaying insects, masculine sweat, blackcurrant buds, and iris among others. This attractive, yet repulsive fragrance is diffused in the room and the entire floor of the museum. You can read more about this project on the artist’s website.

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Andreas then collaborated with artist Anna-Sabina Zürrer on a participatory work / performance titled Apéro, which opened her show at Gallery Hofmatt in Sarnen, Switzerland on March 11, 2017 (and was later re-presented at RocheKunst in Basel the following month, on April 6, 2017). The apéro (aperitif /cocktail) is perhaps the most common part of any vernissage / exhibition opening. Subverting expectations, the artist held an apéro where none of the usual beverages are served. Instead, visitors were served a fragrance of orange juice, white wine or red wine into the glass. You can read more about the work (in German) here.

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In April, Andreas had another collaboration with one of the St. Gallen Intervention artists, Lea-Nina Fischer. As part of several actions taking place on moving trains in Eastern Switzerland in April, the artist staged an olfactory intervention recalling the landscape seen through the train’s windows. With perfume boxes and fans, the scent is spread through the entire train. The scent was composed to develop during the trip with altitude and air pressure: as the herbal smell of rosemary and earth begins to evaporate, it smells increasingly flowery. You can read more about the work (again, in German) here.

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At the same time, Andreas was party to another work by Shirin Yousefi, titled “The Tales of the Cortex”. Part of the group exhibition Speak, Lokal at Kunsthalle Zürich, from March 4 to May 7, 2017, the work recently won the KADIST-Kunsthalle Zürich Production Award 2017. “Working with recordings of ululation and dispersion of odor, Yousefi draws attention to paradoxically invisible and palpable barriers around areas and outlines of specific regions.” You can read more about the work here.

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As if all that that wasn’t enough, Andreas had another installment of his Duftkino (scent cinema) at the Stattkino film festival in Zurich, Switzerland on April 23, 2017. Having created and presented a scent track for a previous Wes Anderson film, The Darjeeling Limited, at the same event in 2015, Andreas reprised the feat with with another olfactively evocative Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. (The film was the inspiration for another distinct olfactive work by perfumer Mark Buxton with Nose in Paris.)

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Oh, and during this period Andreas launched a new fragrance line, the cheekily named Perfume Sucks, which debuted at Esxence 2017 in Milan in March. How does he do it? I’m tired just writing about it! Whatever the secret, keep it up!

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-A.O.

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