Diary of Smells - Glass Ceiling

An artistic-olfactory experience
Laura Abreu

The works from the beginning to the end of Josely Carvalho's exhibition Glass Ceiling complete a cycle of the artist's aesthetic, plastic, and sensorial research as well as her recent life experiences. The book-object Shards came out of personal memories and short writings on the image of broken wine glasses. Interpretations of the texts led to the creation by the artist, in partnership with Givaudan do Brasil, of the smells Affection, Illusion, Persistence, Emptiness, Pleasure and Absence.

From the uneasiness provoked by the glass shards, more appeared when broken glass was scattered through the streets of Rio de Janeiro on the occasion of the demonstrations that took place in the city in 2013. Some fragments were collected by Josely and gained space in the installation Resilience, remaining as marks of recent times, still present, not only here, but also in other places where conflicts exist and street movements are frequently demobilized by dispersal devices.

From the artist's research on glass and shards and reflection on their possible meanings, both personal and collective, arose experimentation in the Urban Glass Studio, Brooklyn, in New York, where sand, extreme heat from fire, and energy propelled by bellows gave form to sculptures recomposing the glass shards.

The energy from this movement gave rise to vessels of ambiguous form, which, existing as transparent barriers contain and allow to escape through their openings the smells Anoxia, Pepper Ball, Dust, Barricade, Lacrimae and Queen of the Night (Cestrum Nocturnum) - the feminine element, the flower. For the artist, these smells joined together may represent that of Resilience, which, however, was not created like the others because the artist made a point of leaving them open, through the infinite and particular ways that each one of us has of interpreting them through the nose. The video Memory of Glass, which reveals the plasticity of fire in the process of manufacturing glass, completes the installation.

Glass Ceiling is the title and synthesis of the exhibition. It is coherence. The name symbolizes the transparent barriers that society imposes on women and minorities. In the exhibition, glass in its duality of strength and fragility is revealed beyond form, and the sense of smell is solicited in addition to the senses of sight and touch, providing an expanded and unique experience.


© 2017 Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo