That pretty packaging you can’t seem to throw away: time to make into an art piece
Sometimes the packaging is just as important as the product. In the case of The Perfume and the Bottle, the packaging has captivated artists in a peculiar way and inspired an entire exhibition, which opened at the Parisian Laundry art gallery on Sept. 7. The exhibition was inspired by those treasured glass bottles, which still hold sentimental value even after the perfume has been used to the last drop, something that a lot of other packaging doesn’t have.
Ever walked through the perfume aisle at your local pharmacy, seen a beautiful crystal perfume bottle— its elegant silhouette illuminated by the fluorescent lights, spritzed yourself with the tester and realized you’d found your match made in heaven? The perfume becomes your signature scent—the bottle is proudly displayed on your desk or vanity. Then, the dreadful day comes when all the precious aroma is gone. You buy another and fall in love with that scent, but unlike your old deodorant or lipstick tube, that old perfume bottle still sits on your vanity, because it’s just too pretty to throw away.
That beautiful perfume bottle you were seduced by is what inspired The Perfume and the Bottle. The exhibition features work by five different artists: Gabriele Beveridge, Andy Coolquitt, Owen Kydd, Kate Steciw and Anne Hall. Each artist’s unique style comes together, allowing the viewer to become nostalgic through the use of recognizable visuals.
When you first enter the exhibition, you are greeted by a small screen mounted on the wall. The image of a turning ring appears on the screen, and draws you in as you stand watching it rotate. Shadows bounce off the silver edges of the ring, as it spins away from the light. This screen, called Split Ring 2015, is the work of Los Angeles-based artist Owen Kydd along with another piece called, Mirror Still Life which is found on the opposite wall. According to Kydd’s bio, he works with durational photographs— where objects on display are featured in an endless loop— through which he aims to create a feeling of fascination and unease.
As you continue along, you pass several other topsy-turvy pieces. One, called Pacific Dream, features four blue frames—the pictures inside them alternate between two images. The first looks like a makeup advertisement, featuring a woman with blonde hair and red lipstick. The other is a picture of a feather. Each image is cropped or angled slightly differently. Sitting on the edge of the frames are two glass crystal balls. This piece is the work of Gabriele Beveridge of London, England. She collects old hair salon and beauty shop posters, and looks for duplicates of the ads in order to skew or crop them differently in her art pieces. Most of her artwork consists of artist-made frames, hand-blown glass elements, and crystal balls. Her work is meant to explore tropes of eternity, beauty, and mystique.
My personal favourite piece was titled Neo Deo: Open Market, Open Vitrine, & Deo Liberal Potentialities, 2013, by Andy Coolquitt. It is a long, plastic case filled with various old deodorant containers—they almost look like they’ve turned to stone. According to its description, it is a vitrine of washed-up deodorant sticks naturally roughened by the passage of time. These previously-unwanted and unused materials are now reinterpreted as art.
You can find The Perfume and the Bottle exhibition at Parisian Laundry until Oct. 10.