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At the Episteme installation, visitors will catch a whiff of calming scent before entering the gallery.PHOTO: AESOP

A new installation in the heart of town is providing scented respite from the haze.

Put on by Australian skincare brand Aesop, the experience called Episteme is part art show, part olfactory playground.

The non-ticketed installation at Ion Art Gallery opened last Thursday and runs till Sunday. Featuring three short films created in collaboration with Dutch artist Bart Hess, the show is a walk-through of mixed media highlighting three of Aesop’s skincare products.

At Episteme, visitors will catch a whiff of calming scent – the unique burner blend used in Aesop’s stores – before entering the gallery.

Inside, the space is divided into three rooms of tactile installations inspired by ingredients in the skincare products. These are shown alongside Hess’ abstract films, which dramatise the skin’s response to the products with materials like PVC and silicone balls.

The exhibition was inspired by the ancient Greek word episteme, which means knowledge or understanding, said Aesop’s creative director Marsha Meredith. “The concept behind it is about how we absorb knowledge or understanding through our senses. The skin is often referred to as the aggregator of all the senses; sometimes it’s even referred to as the ‘common sense’.”

  • WHERE: Ion Art Gallery, Level 4 Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard TurnWHEN: Till Sunday, 10am to 10pm daily


“We’ve always communicated via the senses and I think it’s very basic – good design talks to the senses. When you walk into a room that is well-designed, you feel better. Colour and touch have that effect and so does sound – (this was) an opportunity to play with all of that.”

It was also the right opportunity to collaborate with Hess, 35, who had been on Aesop founder Dennis Paphitis’ radar for some time, said Ms Meredith.

The artist, whose works experiment liberally with materiality and the human body, is best known for designing the slime dress worn by pop star Lady Gaga in the cover art for her 2011 album Born This Way: The Collection.

Source: Creating art with common scents, Arts News & Top Stories – The Straits Times