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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 28, 2013
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Exploring the Secrets of Scent
November 28, 2013   
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A new exhibition at the Copernicus Science Center called Fragrance—The Invisible Code introduces visitors to the secrets of making perfumes.

Organized jointly by the Copernicus Science Center, the French Institute in Poland and the Goethe-Institut, the exhibition explores the history of perfumes and includes an interactive display of raw materials used in the perfume industry, such as ambergris and vetiver.

Visitors to the exhibition discover that scents can be regarded as a form of interpersonal communication.

Fragrance—The Invisible Code is divided into three sections. Focusing on the history of perfumery, the first section features stories, anecdotes and fragrances created especially for the exhibition to highlight the role that scents have played in culture and society.

The second section is arranged as a perfume maker’s workshop, whose centerpiece is a table with essential oils. Here visitors can smell and explore different fragrance families, from wood scents and those originating from animals to spices, citrus and floral scents.

The third section has been designed by biochemist Sissel Tolaas, who is also an artist and an expert on fragrances. Tolaas has had projects exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Liverpool and the National Museum in Beijing. In Warsaw, she explores how a city can be analyzed through its smells, and how scents can be used as a form of social communication.

The exhibition is curated by three people. The overall concept was devised by Agnieszka Łukasik. The historical section was put together by Annick Le Guérer, an anthropologist, philosopher and researcher at the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France, who specializes in the history of scents and perfumes. Working on the Warsaw exhibition, she was helped by Katarzyna Sosenko, an art historian who owns a collection of vintage perfume flasks.

The exhibition comes with a catalogue that further explores the history of smells and fragrances. In the publication, Le Guérer outlines the evolution of perfumery. The catalogue also contains a fascinating section on Eau de Cologne, the most frequently forged fragrance of all time, along with interviews with famous fragrance designers and perfumery experts.

Until Jan. 19
Copernicus Science Center; 20 Wybrzeże Ko¶ciuszkowskie St.
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