Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Andrea Maack, Craft

So here I am with my first blog related dilemma. While the discussion is still out whether perfume is an art form on it's own, artists have becoming increasingly interested in using scent as part of their work and vice versa, perfume houses are collaborating with artists from all disciplines to create inspired fragrances. Andrea Maack is an Icelandic artist who started to use perfume in her installations which then became a product in their own right and she launched a niche perfume house "by accident". I like her idea of taking a piece of the artwork from the wall and use it as blotting paper for the fragrance. 
The problem I have is that I would be doing a colour interpretation of a perfume that was created as an olfactory interpretation of an illustration. Having seen the pieces she apparently created for "Craft", I am faced with the fact that my view on this perfume couldn't be more different. I'm not an artist and this is not an art project, but I do feel a bit uneasy about it. In the end I have decided not to show some of her drawings here, but leave the link to the promotion video for reference. Please have a look at her work online. I like her intricate patterns and think they will work well on fabrics which is apparently her next line of work.

But,  as soon as you take them out of their artistic context, these art perfumes are indistinguishable from any other on the market. You can buy them, they get promoted and shown at trade shows, they get reviewed. Andrea Maack wants us to believe that they have "stripped perfume off it's nostalgic feel" and the aim was to have a "futuristic, clean approach"; a simple scent that "does convey a strong message". I know this is just PR, but somehow it grates on me. Many potential customers will try the perfume without having seen any of the art or even heard of the artist and it's the quality of the fragrance that counts then, not a artistic concept which has long become obsolete. If the scent was fantastic I would forgive all that brouhaha, but unfortunately I really don't like it. 

My visual interpretation of Andrea Maack, Craft

It has an interesting start, suggesting a deep dark forest of doom. Grimm's fairy tales in their original, rather adult versions before they got smoothed and made suitable for bedtime stories. The German in me likes that. The smell gradually gets a bit lighter, but the opening in the forest is never full of sun light or pretty ditsy flowers. The lightest colour comes from the fog hovering above the ground. Or is that the steam from the sauna? Because that is really what Craft smells on me after half an hour. And that is not a good association. The original idea was for the perfumes never to be worn, and as part of an installation that's a valid concept. But as soon as you step into the world of commerce that just doesn't work anymore. In the video Andrea Maack says that she just took whatever fragrance was created without any discussion or further participation. So why on Earth should I give this perfume any more thought than she did ? I find it a bit of a shame, to be honest, and a missed opportunity. But may be I'm just a grumpy old cow and not futuristic enough.  

How and where to wear:
On wool scarf when you have a cold

Forest ground image "Sleeping beauty" via flickr, by Frau Boeb, some rights reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment