Free Smells – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

Free Smells (2016)
By Erik Benjamins
July 2016


FreeSmells-Chinatown-3 Photo by Erik BenjaminsFree Smells, a neon sign appropriated from a nation-wide sandwich chain, has been embraced as another working mantra for the practice of Erik Benjamins.

First realized for an exhibition of of the same name this past spring, Free Smells adapts a popular marketing artifact to poetically value the worthwhile, intimate endeavors of smelling and sensing.

For the month of July, 2016, Erik installs Free Smells in the IAO Window Gallery space.

Photographs by Erik Benjamins




ericBErik Benjamins works and collaborates at the intersections of the visual, performing, culinary, and design communities. His practice is inquiry-driven and materially unfaithful. Over the past few years, he has explored the potentials for engaging with and learning from the home and away places, particularly under the unpredictable, body-bound influence of the senses. Erik is proud to have worked with the IAO and perfumer Ashley Eden Kessler over the past few years with the project, Slow Smoke, Slow Soap (2013-15). This scent-forward installation sought to collapse a private, domestic place (the kitchen) with a public, historic space (Olvera St.), by way of fragrance and sensory embodiment. The last iteration of Slow Smoke… was the inaugural installation in the IAO’s Project Space at their current Chung King location.