Have you ever stealthily taken a whiff of your body odor out of curiosity? Well, performance artist Martynka Wawrzyniak understands your need to know your true self, smell wise, and will show you in her upcoming exhibition at envoy enterprises titled, "Smell Me."
"Smell Me" could be called a self-portrait, but Wawrzyniak's interpretation of the classical artistic trope is far from Rembrandt's technique. Wawrzyniak spent a year working with Hunter College chemistry students to explore her personal brand of perfume. Acting as both the artist and subject, Wawrzyniak used experimental technologies to extract the essence of her signature scent from sweat, hair and tears.
The artist then collaborated with a professional perfumer and scent director to create a synthetic replication of her organic odor, which will in turn be released inside a specially designed scent chamber. The lucky viewers (or, smellers in this case,) will experience the scent chamber individually, getting a solitary experience with l'eau d'Martynka.
This strange invisible portrait may sound a bit gimmicky, but Wawrzyniak's message resonates loud and clear: "The piece represents the true essence of a woman –- free of visual prejudice," she wrote in her artist statement.
What do you think, readers? Does scent hold some essential truth that eludes sight? Is brand name deodorant a vessel of lies? Whatever your conclusion, we are excited to experience a room full of Wawrzyniak's essence. (By the way, the gallery assured us via e-mail the olfactory concoction is actually quite pleasant.)
"Smell Me" will show at envoy enterprises from October 20 until November 18, 2012. We can't exactly show you a preview of the show, but check out these images of the scent-in-progress below: