Olga Cafiero has developed two new series for the exhibition Sillages that take as their starting point her reflections on the notions of natural and artificial, in photography as well as in perfume. Her images compare floral motifs – countless in the history of art, and recurrent in her recent photographic work – with the equally numerous floral interpretations of the history of perfumery. Playing with classic patterns and recent image technologies (3D, lenticular images), her work thwarts current conceptions of artificiality and naturalness to create sublimated images that celebrate both imitation and reinterpretation of nature. The first work is a triptych of lenticular prints, each combining five different images to give a complex floral composition, always changing according to the viewer’s position, and impossible to capture as a whole at a glance. These images visually reflect the impression given by a perfume, where the odours are not all perceptible at the same time, but vary according to time and the diffusion of the molecules, and the smell of the person who breathes it. The second series is a herbarium or index, which refers to famous works in the history of photography, such as Anna Atkins’, situated between artistic representation and scientific description. A selection of eighteen flowers widely used in perfumery are represented, such as rose, tuberose, jasmine or osmanthus. In order to highlight the complex relationships between artificiality and the representation of nature, and to claim them as legitimate spaces for creation – debates common to both photography and perfumery – the artist uses artificial flowers, some of them made to measure for the project by a specialised Italian workshop, as well as a photographic technique, 3D representation, which separates the different coloured layers of the image.
Text by Danaé Panchaud