Text Size
Thu, Aug 06, 2020
What's that smell in 2018!
Subject: What's that smell in 2018!
Send date: 2018-01-04 18:48:20
Issue #: 29


I wish you all a very warm scented 2018 ...!


I thank you all for your interest in my works of art and  for now a quick look back on 2017 and ongoing projects


Upcoming event

Schermafbeelding_2018-01-04_om_14.10.3619.01.2018    20:00h-22:30h


Lectures by Peter de Cupere, Kate McLean, Klara Ravat, Laura Speed, Cecilia Bembibre, Han van der Vegt

This Odorama is co-curated by Caro Verbeek, Saskia Wilson-Brown and Klara Ravat.

Even when we are not always aware of it mentally, most of us heavily rely on our sense of smell. Often, scents silently determine how we feel, set moods and atmospheres, and shape our invisible identity and culture. Despite this, it turns out difficult to describe their influence. How can we capture something that is fleeting, invisible and hardly controllable? The past few years, artists and scholars have worked on new vocabularies to describe aromatic culture. With the most impressive line up in the history of Mediamatic's odorama series, this evening looks into experimental approaches to describing aromatic heritage. 

More info: https://www.mediamatic.net/nl/page/369495/odorama-reading-scents-capturing-aromatic-culture


Ongoing exhibitions




Salft-Flowers-Ecce-Homo-1217.11.2017 - 25.02.2018

Exhibition: Ecce Homo. See Human

63 artists living in Belgium.

9 Location




With Salt Flowers, the artist points out the necessity of a decent climate policy.

With President Trump withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, the disbelief of many is put in the forefront once again.

The world, our climate is changing and this is happening more drastically than we suspect. Men is fooling himself and only believes in the advantage of their proper economy and not in the advantage of human kind.

Peter de Cupere uses an extreme scenario which shows that the water sea level rises. This kills the existing biodiversity. Sweet water becomes salt water. He looks for an utopic way of surviving particular to that situation. He replaces the disappeared white ice caps at the North and South Pole by white salt caps, won from the ocean. He presents a white salt nature with plants, fruit, vegetable and flowers created out of salt. They each have their own scent and thus a proper identity.

The strength of the work does not solely lie in the visual accomplishment of the flowers, but also in the choice of scents. Visually, the flowers are aesthetically and virginally white and the grains glitter in the sunlight. The artist knew how to attach the small grains to each other to a steady shape. Even though the spectator can be persuaded one hundred percent that the flowers are made of salt, they are far from the truth! All the flowers are made out of glass grains.The whole work is created around perception. How do we experience things?

63 participating artists: Luc TUYMANS, Berlinde DE BRUYCKERE, Thierry DE CORDIER, Anne-Mie VAN KERCKHOVEN, Rinus VAN DE VELDE, Wim DELVOYE, Jan FABRE, Dirk BRAECKMAN and more...

The main goal of this exhibition is to explore the historical theme of the ‘Ecce Homo’ in a broad sense within contemporary art in Belgium.

ECCE HOMO is the third large-scale project organized by Gallery Geukens & De Vil.In 2008, G&DV organized UN-SCR-1324, an exhibition with only female artists that started in their gallery in Antwerp and later found its way to New York.Two years later, in 2010, the successful group-show When will they finally see the Power of Drawing was the first exhibition solely focusing on contemporary drawing in Belgium. ECCE HOMO is realized thanks to the support of Ackermans & van Haaren, Bank J.Van Breda & C° and the city of Antwerp.

More info: https://www.eccehomoantwerpen.com


See the making of the drawings in this video:


Mini Olfactory Lab in

Exhibition MUSEUM TO SCALE 1/7 in the Ghisla Art Collection in Locarno, Switzerland. Curated by Ronny van de Velde

18.03.2017 - 28.01.2018


The Museum to scale project, with its 85 miniature pieces, has been curated by Belgian art dealer and gallery owner Ronny Van De Velde. 

 In each of the rooms, contemporary Belgian artists present original works which are either paintings or full installations. Peter de Cupere, Hans Op de Beeck, Jan Fabre, Marcel Broodthaers, Ann Veronica Janssens, Pierre Alechinsky and Michel François are among just some of the artists represented.

TEL/FAX (+41) 91 751 01 52

More info: http://www.ghisla-art.ch/en/temporary-exhibition-17/

More photos


A selective look back on 2017




‘With every breath we observe a scent with a reason’

Peter de Cupere



Venice, Italy, May 6 - 13, 2017


During the opening week of the Biennial of Venice, as part of Command Alternative Escape, De Cupere introduced visitors to plants which have been manipulated in the Spazio Thetis Gardens at Arsenale. In Smoke Flowers, Peter de Cupere lets flowers take revenge on the human population by regurgitating industrial air pollution. It is not what one would expect from the sight of these delicate flowers. Flowers do still give the world a bit of color, lushness, efflorescence and - typically - they smell delightful.

The work criticizes our social attitude towards the urban and industrial pollution. It beseeches us to reflect on air pollution for not only do we as people suffer from it, but nature too is a victim.

Curated by Natasha Pradhan, Venetia Baker and Marcella Malerba

Scents: With/thanks to the support of IFF. Bernardo Fleming, Meahb Mc Curtin, Laura French, Gregoire Hausson, Marine Hetheier

Press photos & texts in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish via dropbox: https://tinyurl.com/venice2017 or https://www.dropbox.com/sh/piscq5c9jnh3dqe/AAAX1ot2snmzVY6EqfsE8Uupa?dl=0




Herkenrode Refuge, Maastrichterstraat 100, Hasselt, Belgium

02.07 - 03.09.201

The Abbey of Herkenrode, just outside the city walls, was an unseen center of power for centuries. The Cistercians had an unprecedented spiritual and worldly power from 1317, because of the pilgrimage of the Bleeding Host. The respectful refuge house within the city walls was a shelter for isolation and reflection. The exhibition CELIBATAIR DIVAS focussed on the unusual life of these emancipated women through an extraordinary selection of international and contemporary artworks.


Olfactory sculpture: Madame Poivre Rose, 2016
Material: Human hair, poivre rose, black pepper, fragrance


Olfactory sculpture: La Madame Cassandra, 2017
Material: Human hair, poivre rose, black pepper, fragrance


Peter de Cupere, Jan Fabre, Nan Goldin (VS), Vanessa Beecroft (IT), Hans Op de Beeck, Koen Vanmechelen, Erwin Olaf (NL), Miles Aldridge (GB), Frederik De Wilde, Nick Ervinck,  ...and many more

Organised and curated by De Mijlpaal Contemporary Art

More info


Salt Flowers in the IJssel Biennial, NL


14.06 - 24.09.2017

An ever reoccurring central theme in the olfactory art works of Peter de Cupere is the inquiry of climate change. He thus created a very extreme work for the Ijssel biennial in The Netherlands, Salt Flowers.



XY - 10 Years GlazenHuis


06.05- 17.09.2017

The  tenth-anniversary exhibition entitled ‘XY’ – ‘X’ for 10 and ‘Y’ for years- at the Lommel GlazenHuis is the glass museum’s twenty-fourth show. GlazenHuis has invited twenty-four artists and designers to demonstrate up-to-date uses of glass within the field of fine and applied arts in Belgium.

Participants: Anna Torfs, Ann Veronica Janssens, Christine Vanoppen, Cindy Wright, Gauthier Pierson, Hans Op De Beeck, Ilse Van Roy, Jan Fabre, Karen Vermeren, Karin Borghouts, Klaar Prims, Koen Vanderstukken, Koen Vanmechelen, Kristof Vrancken, Lieven De Boeck, Linde Hermans, Lore Langendries, Maria Dukers, Mariken Dumon, Nel Verbeke, Peter De Cupere, Sylvie Vandenhoucke, Warner Berckmans en Wim Delvoye.

Curator: Jeroen Maes
Production: © GLAZENHUIS

Aromatic Art (Re-)reconstructed: In Search of Lost Scents



The Olfactory Art Manifest by Peter de Cupere in the exhibition

Aromatic-art-reconstructedSYMPOSIUM: 24.02.2017

EXHIBITION: 24.02 - 23.05.2017

Smell, the neglected sense

Though unnoticed, our sense of smell is a major mood determiner. Scents evoke vivid childhood memories. They are part of our identity: we each have a scent that is as unique as our fingerprints.


Scent Sculpture by Peter de Cupere in the exhibition

Memory Brush
Materials: human hair, scent of gunpowder 

Exhibition and symposium organised and curated by scent historian Caro Verbeek

Artists: Marcel Duchamp (FR), F.T. Marinetti (IT), Peter De Cupere (BE), Job Koelewijn(NL), Gayil Nalls (US), Birthe Leemeijer (NL), Hagen Betzwieser & Sue Corck (GE and UK), Esther Brakenhoff (NL)

Is this mankind


 Solo Exhibition in De Warande, Turnhout, BE 

09.09.2016 - 22.01.2017


In the first room, here in the Warande, Peter de Cupere focuses on involuntarily having your head shaved bald or having your hair cut. He combines two very different situations. On the one hand, he presents testimonials from cancer patients. The loss of hair is a well-known side-effect of chemotherapy. On the other hand, he displays testimonials from survivors of the Auschwitz extermination camp. Upon their arrival there, people had their heads shaved bald under the pretext of hygiene, even though it was clearly a form of humiliation. In his interviews about both situations, Peter de Cupere focuses on people’s olfactory memories.


In the second room, the visitor enters a forest of hair. This is where Peter de Cupere displays a collection of 21,000 human hair tresses. The hair tresses each have their own scent, connected to a specific human identity. For example, the smell can refer to a perfume, to certain dietary habits, or to specific lifestyles. This way Peter de Cupere wants to restore the honor of the lost identities. This room also contains a sculpture of a boat coated with hairs. The boat symbolizes a reference to contemporary refugees who cross the sea with hopes of reaching land. Even though their hair isn’t cut, they also involuntarily lose a large part of their identity because violence forces them to leave their possessions in search of human freedom.



Finally, in the third room, the artist presents six recent sculptures. They consist of herbs, as well as hair. The sculptures are anonymous figures called “Monsieur” or “Madame”. They have no senses except for their olfactory system (i.e. their sense of smell). Their noses are up in the air, as if they are exploring their surroundings. Moreover, this pose provides a somewhat stuck-up impression. The artist added a lot of humor into these sculptures, which can be read as a type of catharsis.

Curated by Annelies Nagels and Tom Viaene

'The exhibition was nominated by

the Art and Olfaction Awards in L.A.'


Project website: www.isthismankind.com


Featured works


Scratch & Sniff Oil Paintings

Peter-de-Cupere-scratch-and-sniff-Black-Oil-Painting-03A new serie of scratch & sniff paintings.

Starting from traditional art themes like: Still Lifes, Flowers, Food, Landscape, War and Portraits paintings, often referring to famous historical art works. These paintings can only be read by touching them with the fingers, scratching the surface and smelling the scent that's added to the painting to unveil the content of the coloured painted surface. Scent is used to give context to the work.

The paintings are made on a traditional way using oil paint, nevertheless the artist implemented new technologies based on scent micro-encapsulation.

These works are part of several series where artist Peter de Cupere is working on. Besides using the tradition kitschy cadres to refer to old paintings, the artist is also working on scent paintings where no cadre is added. The use of a traditional cadre in some of the works is pure to add a link to the idea of traditional painting.

These works follows previous art works where the artist is using scratch & sniff technology.


Black Oil Painting with a mysterious scent in honour to Malevich, 2015



Black Scratch & Sniff Oil Painting in remembrance to WW2, smell of war, 2015


The Meadow, 147 cm x 82 cm, smell of grass, 2017


Winter Landscape 2, 66 cm x 58 cm, eucalyptus scent, 2017


Farmers working on the field, 91 cm x 86,5 cm, 2017, smell of wet earth/soil


Horse standing in the stable, 99 cm x 79 cm, 2017, smell of a horse stable


Still life with fish after Édouard Manet’s Still-life with Salmon, Oysters and Lemon, 1864, 78 cm x 68 cm, Fish smell, 2017


Still Life with Lemons, 93 cm x 88 cm, Lemon scent, 2017


Still life with red apples after Gustave Courbet, 1871, 58 cm 41 cm, apple scent, 2017


Madonna with child, 114 cm 94 cm, scent of baby powder, 2016


Self Portrait Fragrance of the artist in the evening, 91 cm x 73 cm, 2016, 


BOOK, 20 years working with scents


Peter de Cupere, Scent in Context, Olfactory Art

20 years working with scents

472 pages, 3KG, > 1500 Photos, 22 Scratch & Sniff images, 5 cm thick

Texts by Peter de Cupere, Caro Verbeek (Odorama & Rijksmuseum Amsterdam), Ashraf Osman (The Scent Culture Institute), Willem Elias ( Prof. Culture Philosophy, President of the HISK), Hsuan L. Hsu (Prof. English Univeristy of California, Davis), Koan Jeff Baysa ( curator Institute Art & Olfaction, L.A.), Ruth Renders (Art Critic Specialised in Art and Film studies), Annelies Nagels (Curator De Warande)

Published by Stockmans Publishers

Order online via www.scentincontext.com


Your Subscription: