Artistic perfumery has essentially been about the juice from its very beginning in the late 1970s: Jean Laporte started L’Artisan Parfumeur and  focused on the juice as well as its creator. Later on, corporate players became interested in this vibrant segment and launched their own niche lines. More recently, the Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO) was created, signaling a comprehensive “new approach to the olfactory arts“ (Saskia Wilson-Brown, IAO founder’s statement, 2012). Consequently, the IAO’s prominent Art & Olfaction Awards highlight the artistry in perfumery. In fact, the awards propose to celebrate the value of the juice, and the juice alone.

Perfume-making – without a doubt – is a creative practice. Yet, our understanding of creativity is often limited. We basically think about the outstanding achievements of a creative genius without exploring the practices and strategies that underlie their creative solutions.

This talk opens the blackbox of creativity: It will focus on empirical data from case study research in the niche perfume industry, and outline the aesthetic and sensual practices that enable creative solutions in perfume-making.

This new exhibition series is as a re-examination of the collection of the Kunstmuseum Thun, in various ways, through the curatorial lens of scent. In the first part we focus on the material and techniques of art making, which are often smelly, but these scents don’t usually make it into the museum. In the following exhibits, we focus on other aspects of the collection; so stay tuned!