Die Bibliothek der Gerüche
Published by Distanz
Appraising the Aesthetic Value of Scents
The aromas of antiquarian books stand at the center of the exhibition this publication accompanies. Hisako Inoue (b. Yokohama, 1974; lives and works in Yokohama) has gathered selected books from antiquarian bookshops, flea markets, and private homes. It would seem odd that she should make the book the object of a creative engagement focused on its olfactory dimension, setting aside its visual qualities and content: the printed book is a medium cherished for what it contains, and a well-made specimen appeals to the eye first and foremost. Tactile, auditory, and visual impressions enhance the relationship between book and reader. Yet scents trigger our implicit memories much more forcefully and can evoke states of mind of greater intensity than those instilled by seeing and hearing. Like the printing process and the composition of the paper, how a book is handled by its users affects its smell. In this era of digital media and the e-book, a presentation that highlights the longstanding bond between humans and their printed books may seem nostalgic. But as Hisako Inoue argues, antiquarian books with their different scents are emblematic of “lived life.”
With contributions by Cecilia Bembibre and Matija Strlic, Madalina Diaconu, Takuro Shibayama, and Mika Shirasu as well as conversation between Anne Marr and Hisako Inoue.