Broad Street Review: The Institute of Contemporary Art presents Sissel Tolaas: RE_____

On the way to the Institute of Contemporary Art, I passed Monell Chemical Senses Center, where the great golden nose of the sculpture Face Fragment inhales Market Street. It was the perfect preparation for Sissel Tolaas’s RE_____. Tolaas, a Norwegian researcher and artist, has spent her career studying the sense of smell, and ICA is hosting the largest-ever exhibition of her work.

With a doctorate in organic chemistry, Tolaas devises participatory works around invisible stimuli we experience, continuously and often, unconsciously—wafting into our noses on each of the 24,000 breaths we take every day. The works, or as she calls them, “situations,” direct attention to the composition and perception of odors, forcing us to notice how they affect thought, emotion, and memory.

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