Nez à nez. Contemporary perfumers

15.02 – 16.06.2019

Opening : Thursday, 14 February starting at 6:00 PM at mudac

In the exhibition Nez à nez– Contemporary perfumers, we follow the trajectory and creative processes of those working in the complex and demanding world of perfumery. The aim is to give the public access to some of the insider secrets of a creative medium that touches us all. At mudac, the idea of an exhibition on perfumery was long in the works. Like fashion, the creation of perfume is an applied art: a craft that must take into account how the end-product will be used. Perfume-making is a specialised discipline that requires extensive expertise and no shortage of creative curiosity. Perfumers compose, blend, assemble, assess, sniff… and tell a story.

To show just how complex and diverse the world of perfumery is, the exhibition spotlights the creations of thirteen perfumers from various countries and backgrounds: men and women, at different stages of their careers, working independently, as head of their own brand or for a perfume house. We teamed up with the perfumers themselves and the experts from the specialist magazine Nez to select three fragrances by each creator to feature in the exhibition.

Nez à nez presents the perfumer’s art at three different levels: the individual creator’s experience, in the form of interviews; common themes uniting the work of two or three perfumers; and general information introducing the craft. For mudac, the main challenge was how to present something as intangible as scent in a museum context where the visual dominates. How could we display fragrances without influencing the public’s perception of them, and keep perfume centre stage? For a solution, we turned to Sarah van Gameren and Tim Simpson of the studio Glithero, who have created six olfactory installations that take visitors on a poetic, sensorial journey into the world of scents. Design thus plays an essential role in elevating the art of perfume.

In parallel, Le Musée de la Main UNIL-CHUV will hold an exhibition entitled What a Nose! Scents and Feelings, in which visitors will be invited to discover the amazing powers of humans’ often underappreciated sense of smell. The exhibition will include a large array of sensorial experiences and art installations and explore the way our sense of smell contributes to how we perceive our bodies and those of others, as well as how we understand ourselves and relate to the world. The two museums will host joint events throughout both exhibitions.

The illustrated book Sentir – ressentir. Parfumeurs, odeurs et émotions is a joint publication that revisits and elaborates upon the olfactory experiences presented in the exhibitions Nose to Nose – Contemporary perfumers at mudac and What a Nose! Scents and Feelings at Le Musée de la Main UNIL-CHUV. Experts from a range of fields share their points of view on the creation of perfumes and how smell is tied to emotion. Published by Marge Design, Paris, 2019 (in French and English).

List of perfumers and perfumes

Marc-Antoine Corticchiato (FR) – Parfum d’Empire:
Ambre russe, Tabac tabou, Corsica furiosa

Isabelle Doyen (FR) – Aromatique Majeur:
Turtle Vetiver (Les Nez), Ninféo Mio (Annick Goutal), Nuit de Bakélite (Naomi Goodsir)

Céline Ellena (FR) – Nezen:
Mon lys (Fragonard), De Bachmakov (The Different Company), Springpop (J.U.S)

Jean-Claude Ellena (FR) – independent, house perfumer for Hermès from 2004 to 2016:
Cuir d’ange (Hermès), Jardin en Méditerranée (Hermès), Thé Vert (Bulgari)

Rodrigo Flores-Roux (MEX) – Givaudan:
Monstera (Xinu), Sydney Rock Pool (Arquiste), L’Âme perdue (Le Galion)

Olivia Giacobetti (FR) – IUNX/Iskia:
Ether (IUNX), Eau Blanche (IUNX), Philosykos (Diptyque)

Pierre Guillaume (FR) – Pierre Guillaume:
Le musc et la peau, Cozé, Isparta

Vero Kern (CH) – Vero Profumo:
Kiki, Mito, Naja

Patricia de Nicolaï (FR) – Nicolaï:
Cap Néroli, New York Intense, Patchouli Intense

Fabrice Pellegrin (FR) – Firmenich:
Comme une fleur (Roos & Roos), Eau duelle (Diptyque), La fille de l’air (Courrèges)

Dominique Ropion (FR) – IFF:
Alien (Mugler), Portrait of a Lady (Frédéric Malle), Jungle (Kenzo)

Maurice Roucel (FR) – Symrise:
Insolence (Guerlain), Tocade (Rochas), Musc Ravageur (Frédéric Malle)

Lorenzo Villoresi (IT) – Lorenzo Villoresi:
Alamut, Yerbamate, Teint de Neige