‘With every breath we smell’
The olfactory context of nature and human perception.
Peter de Cupere
In 1999 Peter de Cupere graduated in the HISK where he was making art with smells. Now, for more than 20 years Belgian olfactory artist Peter de Cupere has been one of the most proactive proponents in the world for the use of scent in art.
By using the sense of smell in performances, sculptures, drawings, paintings, videos, photography, and installation works, Peter de Cupere creates concepts and contexts that involve our memory and existence. His works engage the future of nature, our environment, the climate changes, but also political, social and ecological impacts. He generates a kind of meta-sensory experience that goes beyond purely seeing or smelling.
He has exhibited in more than 200 exhibitions, projects and interventions, wrote Olfactory Art Manifests (2014 and 2019) in which he states the power of using scent in art and published an overview book that includes more than 700 works (Peter de Cupere, Scent in Context, Olfactory Art, 2016, 472 pages).
Some exhibitions where he participated in are: Festival The World of Witte de With (Rotterdam, NL, 2010) Creativity World Biennial (Rio de Janeiro, BR, 2012), Marta Museum (DE, 2014) East Wing Biennial (London, UK, 2014), Biennial of Havana (CU, 2015), Belle Haleine - The Scent of Art, Museum Tinguely (Basel, CH), The Importance of Being (Havana, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, 2015), There's Something in the Air (DE, 2015), Command Alternative Escape, Venice Biennial (IT, 2017), Sense me, Trapholt Museum (DK, 2019), Sensory yoga, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (TW, 2020)
He gave lectures from Berlin, London to New York and collaborated with various institutions, museums, universities and companies. He is a lecturer at the PXL–MAD School of Arts in Hasselt (BE) where he teaches the use of the nearby senses in art. In 2019 he received his Doctor title for his research about how the sense of smell can be used as a context and/or be the concept of the work of art.
For his contribution to the use of scent in art he received in 2018 in London the prestigious Art and Olfaction award (awarded by the Institute of Art and Olfaction L.A.).
Peter de Cupere’s primary concerns relate to the nature of human perception and self-exploration. He has undertaken many projects and installations that invite the spectator’s participation and interaction while questioning human perception by the sense of smell.
However, most of his olfactory works of art have commonly known scents. The smell of freshly cut grass, the sweetness of strawberries, the love of roses, the pureness of lavender, the power of smoke, the warmness of wood, the dry smell of earth, the smell of Petrichor after a rain day, the smell of American dollars and the scent of softness created by baby powder. He often provokes the spectator by using unexpected odors like the smell of air pollution, gunpowder and sweat are not excluded from his work.
He knows to add context to the work of art and awake the spectator to have a look at its own life experience.
More info: www.peterdecupere.art