The Essence of Now
Perfume and installation (2019)
50ML Body and room fragrance
A sensory experience focusing on the relationship between the present moment and the past, and its relation to the sense of smell.
The sense of smell is famously known for being closely connected to memory. It also brings you into the immediate present. And so, the artist wants to create presence and travel simultaneously, in order to create reflection on heritage, identity, birth and existence. The audience is invited to step into a scented space, an installation, featuring a glass and metal sculpture which represents the fragile and the strong combined.
"I wanted to create a room spray, as I want the audience to be able to entre a scented space. To me, scent creates an immediate presence, and as previously mentioned, has a direct link to memories. By inviting an audience into a scented space, I want them to be drawn into the present as well as invite them to reflect upon memories and so, their own past and heritage. In order to contain the scent as much as possible, I decided to work with a PVC curtain. I chose to stylize the curtain in bronze, as the brown hue matches the one used in perfume bottles to protect contents from direct sunlight and in turn helps preserve freshness. The bronze curtain, which is a welding curtain, also aids protection and preservation. To me, preservation is important as it correlates to the core of the project of embracing heritage and preserving personal history. The floor is covered in reflective material, being very direct in its meaning; letting the audience see both their own reflection aiding a contemplative mode to the installation.
In my past work, I have worked a lot with the balance between fragility and strength and what, if something, lies between. I wanted to keep this aspect for my final work, and consequently, I created a glass and metal sculpture. The three glass sculptures, which look like icebergs, represent the three strands of origin. Being formed as residue, they are all unique in shape and creation, yet it is clear that they belong together. The glass has been annealed prior to exhbition.
At first, I created two perfume flacons that I originally intended for the fragrance. Wanting to make the work more abstract, I decided to use the glass sculptures instead. Each glass sculpture sits on a metal pole rooted in sand – an abstract take on the expression “the sands of time”. Also, glass is made from sand. When sand is heated to the high temperature of 1700degrees, it melts. To me, this shows how individual entities can transform and when combined create a new identity. Thus, our identity is merged and exists as a result of the combinations of our past. On the metal poles I have placed moss, which is often found in Scandinavia in the boreal climate. I have opted for a rose coloured reindeer moss, because of its likeness to human blood veins. By doing this, I want the reindeer moss’ climbing appearance on the metal frame to underline history and life." - Lisa Hennig-Olsen
The unique scent was created based on the DNA of the artist. A DNA test was carried out prior to starting the project. The test results showed three strands; three places of origin, forming one identity:
Scandinavia Irland, Scotland, Wales South Asia
Investigating these locations, specific scents native to these exact places were picked out and blended together to form a perfume.
The perfume was created with assistance from London based Maya Njie Perfumes
The installation was exhibited at Royal College of Art RCAShow 2019