Saturday, January 28, 2012

Christophe Laudamiel at Dillon Gallery NYC

After a disheartening perfume crawl at the beautiful AEDES, I felt my spirits lift again as I found myself walking with anticipation way west on 25th street to drop-in at the Dillon Gallery in Chelsea to see Christophe Laudamiel's scent sculpture installation, entitled, Phantosmia-all but the smell. I missed his Green Aria, a few years back, so I was happy to finally connect. Immediately upon entering the spacious gallery I was struck by the grandeur and rare complexity of a scent that was wafting against me as I climbed the stairs, its inspiration:  Marlene Dietrich. There are 7 olfactory experiences in total, and Remembrance of Things Lost, Dietrich's scent appropriately is the only one that gets to roam the gallery freely. The rest are kept in tents that you walk into. Laudamiel asks us to close our eyes and breath normally as we enter these olfactive highlights of his perfumery career. My friend and I were half way through the installation when we heard that Mr. Laudamiel was in the gallery, and after introducing myself to this master perfumer I was taken by his unassuming and friendly manner. He was of course working and fine tuning his scent sculptures to make sure they were (pumping) just the right amount of juice for the weekend. He also assured me that each tent prevented any fragrance from escaping, and thus possibly mixing with others. The other tents are entitled, At you own Risk: A Crusade to Save the World Olfactory Heritage, The Banana and the Monkey, Fear, Fragile, The Whip and the Orchid, these, along with Dietrich's all have an element of defiance, and a desire to keep the sanctity of perfumery and to make fragrances that counter and challenge the fragrance industry's mores, as it is frowned upon to use certain raw materials as a perfumer or regulations make some restricted. Lastly, The Last Virgin, inspired by Patrick Süskind's book and film, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, is one of my favorites of the show, it infuses steamed milk, pumpkin seed, and "molecules similar to that of the biological structure of red-heads." Unbelievable, right. Laudamiel promises to make many more versions of this one. If you are in NYC, I urge you to go see these scent sculptures and have your own experience, it's open for a few more days, until February 1, 2012. Don't miss it.

Read about Laudamiel's scent opera in New York Magazine here,


  1. I was there too, it was fantastic! I hope exhibitions like this become more frequent!

  2. Cristina, agreed. Let's start to wake up everyone's sense of smell. Best, Valerie

  3. Wish the place is near so that I can go to the place too.

    human pheromones

  4. Eula_w, I wish it were near for you too. I can only hope the description gives you a bit of the experience. I didn't want to be too descriptive about the tents because I didn't want to spoil it for anyone attending, but for you here's a little more. When I entered the tent entitled, Fear, it was mossy and metallic, cold. I thought to myself this is what emptiness and despair smells like. The experience has stayed with me.
    All my best,