Ernest Hemingway, one of the prominent figures of the 21st century literature, became source of inspiration for one of the works exhibited in the 9th International Istanbul Biennale.
While Hemingway highlighted his fear of death in some of his books, he ended his life by shooting himself in 1961. Setting off from the question, “What kind of smell may express his paradoxical identity?” Bulgarian origin artist Daniel Bozhkov produced a perfume of which its dominant smell is “musk”. The name of the perfume meaning powerful, independent, but turbulent and sensitive is “Eau d’Ernest” and it is marketed under the slogan “elegance in difficulty”.
Bozhkov, combining the smell culture of the Ottoman period with today’s world in terms of the cultural and political atmosphere of 1920’s, explains the genesis of the project: “I had come to Istanbul to participate in the Biennial in 2003 and stayed in the Great London Hotel which had a big influence on me. Then, I learned that Hemingway also stayed in this hotel while he was a war reporter for the Toronto Daily Star newspaper in 1922. While I was staying in the hotel, the world was tense as well as in that period. I was interested in designing something to reflect the emotional state of that lonely man who was under pressure.” The artist recorded hundreds of Hemingway look-alikes a competition held in Key West in Florida every July and used the images for his advertising film.
The perfume will be launched on the market after the biennial, and has passed all clichés of the capitalist system. All processes like designing the bottle, writing the story of smell, shooting the film of the story and working with a musician have been realized. The situation carries the art and art work being to the verge of turning into a commercial object; however, the most delicate part of the issue says: “A promotional campaign composed of banner and ad films may direct people to think in that manner. But, when reading the notes in bottle’s label, they will understand this is not the same; because, they will find a complex and deep text.”
Those who want to find Hemingway’s both masculine and fragile personality in the perfume including anise and basil beside musk should visit Antrepo Number 5 until October 5. Visitors will be able to watch the ad film showing a young Ernest drinking a cup of Turkish coffee writes notes in the Great London Hotel lobby in 1922 and can buy the perfume at the biennial area.