But it struck me while reading the various viewpoints on MAD’s show that perfume is distinctly separate from art because it is both design, and an appeal to smell, man’s most primitive sense. Design is a higher human functionality than scent, but in perfume the aesthetics of the designer meets the feral animal instinct of whatever ancestral lizard our family tree stems from. We have built on our primal urges since the beginning of time, gradually wandering down its path to our current state of wincing in shock at the smell of Sécrétions Magnifiques. We wince, and smile, and exhale ecstatically at that which moves us, on a level further afield than art evaluation. Art is intellectual and operates on no fewer than a dozen principles of cultural context (historical, geographical, etc.), theoretical origin (Freudian, Jungian, nihilistic, etc.), and acculturation (modern, postmodern, Eastern, Western, etc.), with no tolerance for reductionist response. Man is expected to process art cognitively before he can relate to it spiritually. We expect this of ourselves, whenever we display art. To expect otherwise is to show a stroke victim a Mondrian and then wonder if he’s drooling in delight.
From Pyrgos: Perfume Is Higher Than Art.