The Institute for Art and Olfaction partnered with Smell it! The Fragrance of Art for an Olfactory Art Symposium showcasing the practices and pieces of a selection of artists exhibiting at Smell it! in Bremen, Germany. In this video, artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter is interviewed by Irena Kukrić, researcher and coordinator of the Dynamic Archive at the University of Arts, Bremen.


Join the conversation: In conjunction with his exhibition Scents of Exile, currently on view at Olfactory Art Keller, artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter will discuss the project with the Institute for Art and Olfaction’s Saskia Wilson Brown on June 3, at 3PM PST. Register here:

The interview is part of the IAO’s Meet a Nose series. Each edition of Meet a Nose takes the form of a one-hour moderated discussion, where extraordinary thinkers, singular artists, and distinctive perfumers from around the world share their unique perspectives on what it means to be a sensorial human in the world.





Brian Goeltzenleuchter: Scents of Exile, June 3 to June 26, 2021 at Olfactory Art Keller, 25 Henry Street, New York

Scents of Exile is an ongoing art project started in 2019 that bears witness to the immigrant experience, one person at a time. For Scents of Exile, Goeltzenleuchter interviews refugees and other immigrants about their scent memories of home. Odors, which are ephemeral and fleeting, have a strong connection to place and often elicit vivid and emotional memories—a phenomenon known as the “Proust effect.”

Goeltzenleuchter uses the interviews as inspiration to create fragrances using cosmetic-grade materials. These fragrances are then embedded in hand sanitizer. Each Scents of Exile station consists of a freestanding dispenser filled with scented hand sanitizer ,and a printed display summarizing the interviewee’s story and scent memories.
Goeltzenleuchter intends for the Scent of Exile stations to be installed at cultural institutions for use by the public at events. The goal is to raise awareness of the diversity of immigrant experiences and facilitate a dialogue. When a visitor sanitizes their hands, the fragrance is transferred to the visitor who will carry it with them after leaving the institution, thereby taking the scent memory with them and becoming part of the artwork in a performative act.

At Olfactory Art Keller, eight Scents of Exile stations will be on display, including one that dispenses hand sanitizer scented to evoke the smell of sweat, smoke, and tear gas reminiscent of protests in Egypt during the Arab Spring (Keyro, 22, 2019), and one that dispenses hand sanitizer scented to evoke the smell of boiled milk (Azira, 52, 2019). In parallel to the exhibition, several Scents of Exile stations are being used in museums in Bremen, Germany as part of Smell it! Smell in Art, the multi-museum survey of olfactory art. The artist will be present for an informal opening reception on Thursday, June 3rd from 4 to 6 pm. At 6 pm on June 3rd, he will discuss his work, including Scents of Exile, with Saskia Wilson-Brown of the Institute of Art and Olfaction.

Hot off the presses and into a shipping container! The German edition of Scents of Exile just shipped to Städtische Galerie Bremen, where it will meet up with newly designed hand sanitizing dispensers. More info as it materializes!


Opening May 8, 2021: A joint project on smell in contemporary art by: GAK Society for Current Art, Gerhard-Marcks-Haus, kek Children’s Museum, Künstlerhaus Bremen, Kunsthalle Bremen, Kunstverein Bremerhaven, Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum, Städtische Galerie Bremen, Weserburg Museum for Modern Art, Center for Artist Publications.

In the context of a delimitation of the boundaries of art, the cooperation aims to counter the increasingly important and, at the same time, little researched discussion of art with smell. The core of the project are ten individual exhibitions, a scientific lecture series and a joint educational program in the period from May to July 2021.

Of particular importance are the contemporary positions on smell that will be exhibited at Städtische Galerie Bremen, in an exhibition titled, Olfaktor: Smell equals presence, curated by Ingmar Lähnemann and Madalina Diaconu. These are the participants:

Esther Adam, Claudia Christoffel, Peter de Cupere (Belgium), Anja Fußbach, Brian Goeltzenleuchter (USA), Bernadette, Barbara Haiduck, Susann Hartmann, Anneli Käsmayr, Laura Pientka, Jana Piotrowski, Mari Lena Rapprich, Anne Schlöpke, Stephan Thierbach, Maki Ueda (Japan), Clara Ursitti (GB), Martin Voßwinkel, Zhé Wang and Doris Weinberger.

The spectrum of odor-related artistic projects of the 19 represented positions is very broad in terms of theme and media. The exhibition contains “smelly” olfactory works of art and works that are used at certain times in such a way that a direct odor level arises, such as through cooking, through roasting, and through aromatherapy consultation. In addition, there are works in the exhibition that only evoke odor in thought or reflect on smelling as a special sensual activity.

A special feature of the “Olfaktor” exhibition is that all works of art are explicitly about smell in contemporary visual art—a topic which has so far been underrepresented in spite of its increasing cultural attention and its persistence in western art history. All the more impressively, Olfactor shows how the Bremen art scene is taking on the subject, and how the Städtische Galerie Bremen recognizes the contributions of international artists Peter de Cupere, Brian Goeltzenleuchter, Maki Ueda and Clara Ursitti, four pioneers of olfactory art.