In celebration of the recent opening of the Grand Musée du Parfum in Paris, SNCF Gares & Connexions, a division of France's national railway company, has placed a work of olfactive art in the city’s second-busiest train station.
Created by Robert Stadler, "100% Illusion" is installed at the Paris Saint-Lazare train station in central Paris. The work takes the form of five suspended cones into which passersby are invited to stick their heads.
“There is a certain paradox between the idea of perfume and the experience of a train station,” said Stadler. “[I am interested in how] the dream, the subtlety, the intimacy contrasts with the incessant flow of people in a hurry, the sound level, the stress.”
The first four of the cones contain single raw materials — amyl vinyl carbinol, linalyl acetate, camphor and coumarin — with the fifth, larger cone, containing the lavender accord which results from the judicious mixture of the other materials.
The installation offers travelers a practical demonstration of perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena’s statement that perfumery materials do not mix like colors to create a new color but rather juxtapose themselves to form a new smell. “1 + 1 becomes 3... Illusion is more true than reality,” said Ellena.
Robert Stadler's installation is on view at Paris Saint-Lazare through Feb. 2 after which it will be moved to two further Paris train stations later this year.