Sissel Tolaas: RE_________
September 16–December 30, 2022
In the course of a single day, each of us breathes in and out around 24,000 times. With each breath, irresistible signals are sent straight to the brain—including smells, which in a matter of nanoseconds trigger emotions and memories, stirring up the subconscious in turn.
For Norwegian-born Sissel Tolaas, smell is a vital yet often overlooked tool for communication, and one she has been exploring through her work for more than three decades. She has devoted her research-based artistic practice to the olfactory rather than the visual or the auditory, thereby appealing to a different type of sensory experience with her projects. As Tolaas has noted, “My nose is more advanced than my eyes.”
The exhibition RE_________, as in remember, reveal, revive, regrowth, etc., is the largest presentation to date of Tolaas’s work. It exemplifies the breadth of her complex yet highly direct and intuitive artistic practice. All of the works on display are site-specific, developed or reworked especially for this exhibition. The ICA’s architecture, its physical setting, and geographical context are all closely scrutinized, raising questions large and small in the process: What is change? What is hidden beneath the building’s surface? How do scared people smell? How do we capture a single breath? What smells characterize a nation?
For more information on the exhibition, click here.