Inhaling Art - The collection now

Inhaling Art. Courtesy Van Abbemuseum
Caro Verbeek. Courtesy the artist.
Inhaling Art, Van Abbemuseum, 2014. Foto: Bram Saeys
Er was eens... De collectie nu - Toolshop, Van Abbemuseum, 2014. Foto: Bram Saeys.
guided tour

Inhaling Art The collection now

27/09/2014 - 02/04/2017

scented art

"Smell really is transporting. Seeing, hearing, touching, tasting are just not as powerful as smelling if you want your whole being to go back for a second to something." Andy Warhol about his smell memory collection

At the Van Abbemuseum you can “look at art with their nose”. With Inhaling Art you are confronted with our most under-emphasized sensory experience: the sense of smell. Normally the museum is a place where one only uses his sense of sight to look at works of art. By means of specially developed smells accompanying various works of art, it becomes possible to enter into an intimate relationship with the collection. Warm, spicy aromas and synthetic compositions of smells alternate with each other and you can literally inhale art.

Inhaling Art is developed by Caro Verbeek (art and aroma historian) in cooperation with Jorg Hempenius (aroma jockey). They created this concept in cooperation with the Van Abbemuseum for the collection exhibition The Collection Now.

Although the sense of smell is the least researched and most widely ignored of all the senses, aromas have an enormous influence on our behaviour, our emotions and our moods, and the sense of smell is well known for the vivid memories it can evoke. When different senses are stimulated at the same time they can also influence each other. Experiments are carried out with all these aspects during this special aroma intervention in the context of the Van Abbe Storylines. The advantage of the fact that people often have the greatest difficulty naming the smell is that there is room for free association, just as it is the case with abstract visual art: in different people an aroma can evoke different ideas and feelings.

The do it yourself tour guides people to several locations in the new building of the museum were scent units are installed. One of them is located next to Blick auf Murnau mit Kirche (1991) by Wassily Kandinsky. Kandinsky was interested in synaesthesia. This term refers to perception by one sense while another sense is being stimulated. What would certain forms and colours smell like? Seeing and smelling the landscape at the same time can make it possible to experience it more intensely.

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