PETER DE CUPERE
Peter De Cupere is a contemporary artist who creates works with scents.
By exploiting the subjective, associative impact of smells, in combination with visual images, Peter De Cupere generates a kind of meta-sensory experience that goes beyond purely seeing or smelling. De Cupere paints with scents, produces olfactory objects, soap paintings and sculptures, creates video and live performances, makes three-dimensional drawings and builds poetic smell installations.
Everyone who has ever smelt De Cupere‘s work cannot fail to recognise that his works prompt quite a reaction. You either love it or you feel attacked via your nasal senses. If the latter is true it is often because the spectator adopts a reserved attitude at first as a result of being wary of the unknown. That is exactly why smells in art have been and are still positively avoided. People like to compare and want a return or recognition. This is difficult with smells because they act directly on the limbic system and don‘t give you the necessary time and chance to translate things like you do with „sight“. Smells act on your memory subconsciously and so you associate your own subjective feelings with a specific smell. Your attitude to the object is determined by the smell memory of a certain moment. Add then the combination with the visual aspect of the artwork and you get a mix that does not appear to be completely predictable. Alongside the pleasance of some smells there are also smells that warn us of danger though we do not always need these indications because of habituation. If you cross the street there are many damaging smells present because of pollution: exhaust fumes, rotting processes from discarded foodstuffs, toxic fumes from asphalt and other building materials that are freed by heat from the sun, polluted rain, sewers, etc. But the normal city person has become used to all the exhaust fumes and other air-polluting substances.
Peter de Cupere served as a judge for the 2016 Art and Olfaction Sadakichi Award for Experimental Scent.