Sex, Scent and Curious Cosmetics: An Immersive History

Julian Walker will give a brief overview of the past 600 years of cosmetic history before exploring a few problematic areas: destructive cosmetics, concepts of fraud and male castigation of female cosmetics, cosmetics as empowerment, reading the face, inviting the body-entering gaze, and facial prosthetics & Odette Toilette invites you to experience the 20th century in perfume form, from the blockbuster perfumes we all love to the hidden stories of how scent has been created, promoted and used. Discover the strange tales of maverick entrepreneurs 'scent bombing' American cities in the 1940s, pickup artistes flogging scent to disaffected housewives, and Edwardian actresses using perfume to gear up for their salacious roles on the stage.

DETAILS

Sep 15th 2015 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History, London

11 Mare Street, E84RP

£10

£5 concessions

+ booking fee

DESCRIPTION

Lifelong fragrance fan Odette Toilette has for the past five years been changing the way we think about scent through her cult events, ranging from sniffable history talks to perfumed tours of art galleries. Odette organised the first Japanese incense ceremony in Britain in living memory and a series of events with the Osmothèque in Versailles, the world's only fragrance archive. This summer she was one of the team for the Tate Sensorium, which will invited visitors to taste, smell, touch and hear artworks in an immersive exhibition. In advance of her first book, A Century of Scents in 100 Perfumes, (Hutchinson, October 2015), Odette will invite you to experience the 20th century in perfume form, from the blockbuster perfumes we all love to the hidden stories of how scent has been created, promoted and used. Discover the strange tales of maverick entrepreneurs 'scent bombing' American cities in the 1940s, pickup artistes flogging scent to disaffected housewives, and Edwardian actresses using perfume to gear up for their salacious roles on the stage.

Julian Walker is a writer, artist and educator. His research-based art practice uses a wide range of media, to explore taxonomy, language, collections, and cultural history, using drawing, sewing, carving, engraving and performance lectures and he leads workshops at the British Library on literature, art, history, printing and language. In this talk, A View of the History of Cosmetics, Research is drawn from his book, The Finishing Touch: Cosmetics Through The Ages - a curious, sometimes uncomfortable history of the human need to look beautiful, revealing dozens of the ways in which people have tried to make themselves more attractive. Among the bizarre recipes and grotesque commercial innovations featured are a facewash based on boiled and minced pigeons and ways to prevent mice-infestation in wigs.
Signed copies of The Finishing Touch, and Julian Walker’s How to Cure the Plague, also published by the British Library, will be on sale.

 

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