At Penn museum’s art of smells exhibit, beauty is in the nose of the beholder
By Frank Rudnesky for Philly Voice
September 21, 2022
A new art exhibit on University of Pennsylvania’s campus requires visitors to use their noses instead of their eyes.
The first major U.S. exhibition by Norwegian-born, smell researcher and artist Sissel Tolaas is on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art now through Dec. 30.
Tolaas uses smell as a primary medium in her work to activate memory, recreate place and time, and elicit emotional and intellectual responses. The abstract title of the exhibit – RE_________ – alludes to this practice and is intended to call to mind words like remember, reveal, revive and regrowth, organizers say.
The average person inhales and exhales around 24,000 times per day. With each breath, we send signals to our brains, allowing scents to instigate the subconscious and trigger emotions and memories. For Tolaas, smell is an imperative, and often-overlooked, tool for communication.
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