Clara Ursitti’s work is often invisible. She has been working with fragrance since the early 90’s creating installations and interventions that delve into the social and psychological aspects of scent. Prioritising the non-visual, she plays with what smells good, what smells bad and odours that don’t fit neatly into either category. Her work often incorporates situation and context. For Poison Ladies, she invited 28 women over the age of 60 to attend an art opening, and asked them to wear Dior’s power perfume Poison, iconic for the femme fatale of the eighties. Entering the gallery unannounced over the course of the evening, they gradually infiltrated the room, filling it with the fragrance, as well as visibly changing the demographic.
Clara Ursitti has exhibited widely, including the ICA, London; Gothenburg Biennale, Sweden; CCA Glasgow; YYZ, Toronto; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Montevideo: The Netherlands Media Institute, Amsterdam; Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland. In 2004 she was a recipient of the IASPIS (International Artists Studio Programme in Sweden) award and in 2006 she was the Arts Council of England Helen Chadwick Fellow (British School at Rome and University of Oxford), and in 2009-2010 she was awarded the Scottish Arts Council Artist Award. More recently her work was included in the survey exhibition: Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, and in two survey shows on scent in art, Belle Haleine, Museum Tinguely, Basel and There is Something in the Air, Museum Villa Rot, Burgrieden – Rot, Germany, and Sex Smells at the Kunstverein, Wolfsburg, Germany. She lectures at Glasgow School of Art.
1. Skunk Notes, 2017
Site Specific Scent Intervention, SAR ( Society for Artistic Research ), conference, Helsinki
2. A Big Stick of Confidence, 2014
Site Specific Scent Intervention, Market Street Philadelphia
Photo credit: Gabriel Martinez
3. L’elephant, 2016
Site Specific Scent Intervention, Frankfurt Bookfair, Frankfurt
4. Poison Ladies, 2013
Intervention. Twenty five ladies, mostly over the age of 60, were invited to gatecrash an art opening. They were asked to wear Christian Dior’s perfume, Poison. Part of the event Nite Flights, at The Old Hairdressers Gallery, Glasgow.