Exhibitions

My Scent is a Scent of a Woman

The art programme presented as a part of Festival New Europe. Queer Gaze. Curator: Michał Grzegorzek

It is almost impossible to count all the women and girls suffocated in their sleep by scent of flowers. These would be the victims of sanitation policy that has been shaped over the centuries to clear public spaces from uncomfortable odours and then started to poke its nose into private spaces as well - bedrooms, beds and bodies. Few realize the turbulent history of the sense of smell, to which the COVID-19 pandemic adds another, gruesome chapter. In the framework of the New Europe: Queer Gaze Festival we will ask our audience to activate a different sense than the one commonly associated with visual arts. Four unique scents will be created for us by artists: Ewa Partum, Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Rock AngelZ and Dominika Olszowy.

”The spatiality of bodies shall be defined by their exhalations”, and the obsession of ventilation will also enable a constant presence of gaze, one that will later be aptly described by Foucault as control and surveillance of bodies. Strategies of deodorisation reveal a lot about the approach towards public space, which from the 18th century on has been measured and divided in accordance to smells — through selection, prohibition of mixing between groups and isolation. Fear of foul odour coming from the highest ranks of social pyramid established the social hierarchies permanently. It also introduced the idea of smell (along with all other attributes) as a cultural costume assigned to gender. A woman who smells like a flower has no other scent than the perfume designed for her by a man. This hygienic, synthetic and in fact deeply patriarchal feature of womens physicality became desirable and natural. Though it can also be seen as a tool of discipline and oppression.

My Scent is a Scent of a Woman is a set of four independent presentations by contemporary female artists. The title refers to Ewa Partums artistic actions from the 1970s, one of the first feminist actions in Polish art. My Problem is a Problem of  a Woman and My Touch is a Touch of a Woman, as Partum said (and wrote), revealing her gender and pointing to its literalness and conventionality, as well as the entanglement in social, moral and political structures of patriarchy. The woman in the title of the show is not necessarily consenting to roles, tasks  and gender assigned to her.  The invited artists will work with questions connected to the fight for womens rights such as: violence and selfdefense, new sisterhood or hydro-feminism, an idea that is being developed in the context of global crises and fluid identities.  

 

The sense of smell, which allows us to grasp the transience of being, is a highly underestimated channel of cognition. As no other sense, smell has the power to activate affective memory and it is inextricably linked to air access. Is there any other action that we are more equal to than breathing? Scents that find their way to our nostrils and mouths are proofs of presence — of community and closeness. The way we smell and whether we smell each other shows not only that we did not lose our smell, but also, that we are together.

We invite you to smell, and most of all to inhale the works right into your lungs as deeply as you can. Nothing harms perfume more than oxygen.

References: Alain Corbin, We władzy wstrętu. Społeczna historia poznania przez węch. Od odrazy do snu ekologicznego [; Psychologia węchu i pamięci węchowej” [Psychology of Smell and Olfactory Memory] by Prof. Ewa Czerniawska. 

- Michał Grzegorzek

EVENTS:

17-18 September | Tear-jerker, Ewa Partum

14-15 October|  Agnieszka Brzeżańska

19-21 November | Rock AngelZ

17-19 December | Dominika Olszowy

Past events

Other cycles

Calendar

October 01

Symposium

Krzysztof Garbaczewski
Theater / Age 16+

October 02

Symposium

Krzysztof Garbaczewski
Theater / Age 16+
English subtitles

October 03

Symposium

Krzysztof Garbaczewski
Theater / Age 16+

October 08

PREMIERE Erasmus

Anna Smolar
Theater / Music

October 09

Erasmus

Anna Smolar
Theater / Music

October 10

Erasmus

Anna Smolar
Theater / Music

October 14

The Pond

Gisèle Vienne
Theater

October 15

The Pond

Gisèle Vienne
Theater

October 22

Odyssey. A Story for Hollywood

Krzysztof Warlikowski
Theater

October 23

Odyssey. A Story for Hollywood

Krzysztof Warlikowski
Theater

October 24

Odyssey. A Story for Hollywood

Krzysztof Warlikowski
Theater

October 27

Odyssey. A Story for Hollywood

Krzysztof Warlikowski
Theater

October 28

Odyssey. A Story for Hollywood

Krzysztof Warlikowski
Theater

October 29

Odyssey. A Story for Hollywood

Krzysztof Warlikowski
Theater

October 30

Odyssey. A Story for Hollywood

Krzysztof Warlikowski
Theater

October 31

Odyssey. A Story for Hollywood

Krzysztof Warlikowski
Theater

November 04

Cinema of Moral Anxiety

Michał Borczuch
Theater / Age 16+

November 05

Cinema of Moral Anxiety

Michał Borczuch
Theater / Age 16+

November 06

Cinema of Moral Anxiety

Michał Borczuch
Theater / Age 16+
English subtitles

November 07

Cinema of Moral Anxiety

Michał Borczuch
Theater / Age 16+

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