Body Odor as Art: The Smells of Peter De Cupere

Looks wholesome, doesn't it? image via

Our podcast episode "Your Body Odor,Your Destiny" explores the subtle ways in which we detect the presence of disease in the body odors of our fellow humans. I believe we mentioned German odor artist Sissel Tolaas in the podcast (she also came up in our episode "Smells to Blow Your Mind"), but I wanted to share another smell-powered artist with you.

Meet Belgian artist Peter De Cupere. He paints with scents, sculpts with soap and builds smell-based art installations. His performance piece "Sweat" nicely sums up the focus of his work. Here's an excerpt from the artist himself:

"Sweat is a performance where the sweat of 5 dancers was caught. They wear specially designed costumes that were made out of plastic and connected by tubes. Before the action, the artist made a separate dish for each dancer. The intention is to catch the sweat from the dancers and to distill it. The sweat will be sprayed on a wall of the dance lab and protected by a glass box. In the glass is a small hole where visitors can smell the sweat. The performance is shown by video in the glass tank."

Sadly, you cannot smell the performance here. But you can view it:

What's he working on now? Why a perfume of course. It's called "Peter" and it's "a composition of the smells of his body, skin of different parts, breath, sweat, sperm, spittel, nose drops, blood and many more smells you can imagine with a person."

Are you intrigued or afraid?

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.