Historically artists have very often been inspired by the people surrounding them. Museums are filled with portrait pieces, whether paintings or sculptures, by artists of today and the past.
Although /7S/ deals with my continued interest in Catholicism, the project is equally focused on the perfumers who have created the seven scents of sin. It is as if they were portrayed on my canvas dressed in the sins they have created. I started to work with perfumers a while ago to give a new dimension to my sculpture. Smell has had as much influence as Catholicism in my life, and it was a natural step for me when I first introduced scents in my sculpture in 1997. As my projects evolved from sculpture to Olfactory Art, I also became more intrigued by the perfumers and their unique personalities.
The lack of an acute sense of smell in human society is not as fatal as in wildlife. The olfactory sense may be the more obscure and less popular sense in modern life. So if one doesn't know much about perfumery, he could imagine that people called "noses" are trying to create literature or poems in a language that we have started to forget. As a matter of fact, their sense of smell is closer to animals than humans as they can pick out scents that most of us can no longer smell...
These days I am attracted to the peculiar contrast that perfumers I know carry in themselves. Some are as analytic as scientists. Others are as imaginative as the greatest artists in the world of music or the fine arts. They all have both the intelligence to compose hundreds of "notes" in one bottle, and the ability to recognize thousands of different smells like wolves. Perfectly dressed in Hermes while evaluating their creations on a skin model's arms... this typical image of a perfumer at work represents what I am interested in. And it is no surprise that these contrasting traits could only fit into strong and unique characters, which made choosing the right sin for each perfumer such an exciting task for me.
In /7S/ I wanted the perfumers to create something beyond the commercial boundaries so that I could view them from a different angle. /7S/ is about creation, and it is portraits of the perfumers that I admire.
Nobi Shioya (aka Sacré Nobi)
New York, June 2002