The interpretations of art are what makes it so fascinating to discuss, the more questions raised, the more thoughtful the piece! And this perfume is art and it is raising some serious questions!
Johannesburg, South Africa (03 November 2021) – Alexandra Craner and Jordan Tryon have created an art piece that is raising many questions – which is exactly the plan! They have infused their Covid-19 cells with a perfume to discuss the present and past ghosts of South Africa, through the ghost of a virus.
Through the piece, which will be shown as part of the Sasol New Signatures 2021 exhibition, they aim to raise questions about the effects of certain state responses to the pandemic on the most disenfranchised South Africans.
Artists create Covid-infused perfume to raise the spectre of SA’s dark past – and posit questions about its present. The two Johannesburg-based artists have created a perfume containing Covid-19 cells collected from their own saliva while ill. A ghost of the virus that has caused so many South Africans and foreign nationals great discomfort.
“Certain state responses to Covid-19 have evoked an olfactory echo of an older trauma for the most disenfranchised South Africans”, notes artist Alexandra Craner.
“It was AP photographer Jerome Delay’s reference to Apartheid, while covering the violent and punitive enforcement of lockdown and curfew regulations amongst impoverished communities, which crystalised the concept for us: ‘there are still ghosts floating around’”
Entitled Gāst, which is the Germanic etymological predecessor of the word Ghost, the fragrance itself was deliberately based on Giorgio Women – one of the most popular perfumes of the 80’s and renowned for its “white floralcy”.
“We wanted to raise questions about the nature of that era’s ghosts in contemporary South Africa”, says co-creator Jordan Tryon. “How were they experienced, for example, among the witnesses to the fatal shooting of Sibusiso Amos? And what role did they play in exacerbating the desperate circumstances which lead to the July riots?”
Amos was one of at least twelve South Africans killed during the lockdown enforcement operations, thus far.
The Sasol New Signatures 2021 exhibition opens on November the 11th at the Pretoria Art Museum, after which it will travel the country for a year. Featuring work by some 100 as-yet unrepresented artists practising in a broad variety of media, it promises to be interesting viewing.