One artist uses her sweat, oils and tears to create a startling self-portrait.
Images via envoy enterprises
How accurate can a self-portrait be if it only captures how you look? Removing herself from the visual judgment so often made of women, Artist Martynka Wawrzyniak decided to present her essence through her smells instead of her looks. Enrolling as a student at Hunter College, she worked in their lab to capture, condense, and otherwise preserve her most identifying scents. Whether by listening to songs from her native Poland during the Communist era to evoke (and bottle) tears or by wrapping herself in Crisco and bandages to turn sweat into substance, Wawrzyniak distills her most basic properties into olfactory experiences.
The resulting exhibit, ‘Smell Me’, turns viewers into ‘sniffers’ as vial after vial of the artist’s scent is presented. If you are in New York before November 18th, stop by envoy enterprises’ gallery to experience the Scent Chamber, emitting her body odor as synthesized directly from the artist’s armpit. Before you walk out you will have a fuller understanding of Wawrzyniak than perhaps you wanted — but that is exactly the point.