Kunstmuseum Thun

Olfactory Exhibition #4

10 Dec 2016 - 22 Jan 2017

Ausstellungsansicht Schnupperschau #4
Wie riecht das Böse?
Foto: David Aebi
How does evil smell?
10 December 2016 – 22 January 2017

Curated by: Katrin Sperry (Kunstmuseum Thun) and Ashraf Osman (Scent Culture Institute)

During the entire year, the question ‘How does art smell?’ was approached differently in the project room enter and presented in the experimental exhibition series Olfactory Exhibition. With works from the collection of the Kunstmuseum Thun, the series devoted itself to fragrance in and around art. For the fourth and final part, Habib Asal was invited to create an artistic installation that deals with fragrance and the museum collection. With the title ‘How does evil smell?’ the artist takes up a current and explosive topic, fear and threat of assassinations. In cooperation with the Scent Culture Institute, the project room enter serves as a place for a final experiment in fragrance.

The conceptually working artist Habib Asal (*1974 in Amman (JOR), lives and works in Zurich) draws his motivation for the installation from current world affairs. Almost every day, we are confronted with news and images of violence, war and terror on television, newspapers, or social media. Events are mainly transmitted to us visually. The Olfactory Exhibition, however, addresses the olfactory organ, because every day we breathe in and out around 20,000 times and in the process perceive a multitude of smells.

The title ‘How does evil smell?’ points us to the all too familiar fragrances and smells, which, depending on experience, instantly remind us of “evil“ and what that is not. For instance, what is the effect of the smell of potassium nitrate or steel? Via the media, we are confronted with images of weapons and so-called killing machines, and the images are shocking. However, does the smell of their actual material also trigger a sense of fear and threat?