Surreal aroma's. (Re)constructing the volatile heritage of Marcel Duchamp


  • Caro Verbeek Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam


Mots-clés :

Senses, surrealism, olfaction, Marcel Duchamp, reconstruction


No ‘visual’ artist addressed the sense of smell as often as Marcel Duchamp did. Whereas his solid objects can still be studied visually and textually, the scents he used have by now evaporated, and a vocabulary to describe them is lacking until today. What we have left are nose witness reports and the possibility to smell olfactory reconstructions. Rereading canonical text with a more sensory gaze and inhaling these historical fragrances, such as cedar, erotic perfumes and coffee,  will enable us to reconstruct the olfactory dimension of our highly ocularcentric history of art.

Biographie de l'auteur

Caro Verbeek, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

Caro Verbeek (1980, Amsterdam) holds an MA in History of Art and in Curatorial Studies. She graduated in Olfactory and Tactile Art at the University of Amsterdam, and is currently working as an embedded researcher on the PhD ‘In Search of Lost Scents - Reconstructing the Aromatic Heritage of the Avant-garde’ at VU University, Amsterdam and as an assistant-curator of 20th century prints and drawings at the Rijksmuseum.. She created numerous olfactory tours and interventions for art museums such as the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (‘Inhaling Art, 2014-2019) and teaches the course ‘The Other Senses’ at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Hague.




Comment citer

Verbeek, C. (2016) « Surreal aroma’s. (Re)constructing the volatile heritage of Marcel Duchamp », RELIEF - REVUE ÉLECTRONIQUE DE LITTÉRATURE FRANÇAISE, 10(1), p. 133–142. doi: 10.18352/relief.929.



Articles – dossier thématique