“Experiences, stories and memories are the foundation of Maria Candida Gentile’s creative process. It is through her unparalleled skills as maitre parfumeur that she can penetrate the secrets of nature and translate them into deep vibrations that evoke in us spaces and times lost in our consciousness”

Dr. Lara Conte, art critic

“Experiences, stories and memories are the foundation of Maria Candida Gentile’s creative process. It is through her unparalleled skills as maitre parfumeur that she can penetrate the secrets of nature and translate them into deep vibrations that evoke in us spaces and times lost in our consciousness”

Dr. Lara Conte, art critic

Biennale d’Arte di Venezia, Padiglione Italia (2013)

For Vitone, landscape is the place where memory and the present confront each other. Eternit represents the memory of a past time, that is much more recent than what we tend to believe, a key to access the present and perhaps a way to hypothesize the ultimate overcoming of any crisis as a tool of political control.

Hence the idea of making up an invisible monochrome, able to trespass borders and perimeters, by collaborating with the master perfumer Maria Candida Gentile. Eternit has no smell, but its fibrous particles kill if inhaled: Vitone’s work is meant to be breathed. Whoever enters the Italian Pavilion cannot help but breathing “Per l’eternità”.

On the Italian “nose” website one can read :”The perfumer’s task is to capture the soul and the complexity of the world and to turn it into something volatile. Maria Candida Gentile graduated from the school of Rure, an old school in Grasse (France), where she was taught to use the notes of life, as those of death, to distinguish thirty different shadings within the scent of a rose in order to be able to isolate them and to use them as if they were colors. She creates her perfumes as actual commissioned portraits by using precious raw and natural materials. Her method is visualized by a circular graph that moves from getting familiar with the individual and his/her environment up to the achievement of his/her full acquaintance, that necessarily includes his and her memories.

Smell is a key to opening the door of memories and a way of exploring landscape.. The decision of diffusing his presence through a scent is emblematic of Luca Vitone’s partecipation at the Venice Biennale.

The choice has fallen on the rhubarb, which is green, pungent and sour. Made together with Maria Candida Gentile, “Per l’Eternità” is an achromatic monolfactory sculpture in three notes: Swiss rhubarb, Belgian rhubarb, rhubarb France (and completely by chance, the leaders of Eternit came from those countries). The collaboration, based on the surveys performed in Casale Monferrato and Venice, on landscape and collective memory, is a complex project that aims to occupy Italian Pavillon space beyond any wall, ceiling and floor, beyond every possible partition, in order to retrieve the identity of the presence, that one of the artist as well as that one of the audience through the pervasiveness of the experience.

PAC, Padiglione Arte Contemporanea, Milano (2017)

Along with the verbal language, graphic or sinesthetic, also the interpretation of a smell which reveals meaningfull aspects of oneself and others.
A true form of communication.

Fondazione Prada, Milano (2017)

An olfactive research on felin pheromone, the addiction of the man introduced in a structure where the audience will be able to have an interior experience regarding the work of the artist from different prospectives which involves all the senses.

Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti

Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (2014)

Since the second half of the 1980s, in his artistic work Luca Vitone has engaged with the notion of the construction and representation of specific locations and the different languages that describe and define these places in their geographical, political, social, cultural and poetic dimensions. In particular, he is interested in how places are characterized through art, cartography, music, food, political groupings and ethnic minorities. Many of his installations and paintings can also be understood as mental landscapes that were created from locally found remnants of civilization (dust, waste, food). His “monochromies” are conceptual self-portraits of the places in which they originated. The artist exposes untreated canvases to local conditions, until the effects of weather or pollution have left their marks, in order to then present them, stretched and framed as minimalistic, monochrome paintings, in the exhibition space.

In another series of works, recently presented at the 55th Venice Biennale of 2013, Vitone creates olfactory sculptures of places
that solely by the presence of a scent in the room appeal to the collective memory and trigger certain associations in the viewer. For Imperium, his solo exhibition at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Luca Vitone has created a new series of four watercolors made from dust (Räume (Rooms), 2014), representing different institutions of state power: the economic (Deutsche Bundesbank (German Federal Bank), Frankfurt/Main), the legislative (Deutscher Bundestag (German Parliament), Berlin), the judiciary (Bundesgerichtshof (German Federal Court), Karlsruhe) and the cultural (Pergamonmuseum, Berlin). .

The monochrome “portraits” are painted on paper with the dust of the respective places. Furthermore, Vitone developed a new olfactory sculpture, Imperium (2014), receiving the visitors when entering the otherwise empty exhibition space. The sculpture is composed of different fragrances, which together evoke the “smell of power”. For this work, the artist again collaborated with the master perfumer Maria Candida Gentile, just as for his contribution to the Italian Pavilion at the last Venice Biennale.

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016)


Created especially for the Aix Scent Fair, “C’era una volta” is an olfactive installation dedicated to the fairytale of Pinocchio.

A magic and silent environment where the visitor is engaged in a magical and enchanted atmosphere. A tiny box of memory, one of those kept but almost forgotten in dusty lofts, that just opens up in front of your eyes, leading us to explore a world of affection, marked by dreams and memories, feelings and emotions. Pinocchio, the wooden puppet, with his flowery paper dress, the shoes made of tree bark, the little hat made of bread crumb; the imperfect hero taken away by the events and his one destiny.

The innocent nose – nose anti litteram or nose for excellence of the Italian literary tradition. A faraway sound comes out of the memory and spreads right here and now, a secret and intense scent embracing and hugging us: burnt wooden pine, the scent of ancient paper and bread, a shade of sugar. “Once upon a time” is a space of dream and fantasy, a fairytale within the fairytale.



Festival della Mente, Sarzana (2017)


Sensitivity, understood as a subjective experience of the workings of our senses, seems to take on particular importance in certain subjects. Self-regulation obtained through sensoriality can be aimed at restoring an internal cohesion when the self is threatened. Sensitivity can also be used to try or restore a feeling of vitality, compensating for a sense of devitalisation or, in severe cases, an internal void.

The sense of smell is still something very primitive and fundamental for man: we know that the newborn baby can recognize the smell of the mother and that the smells play an important role in sexual selection. We often forget how deeply we depend on our perceptions even if, unlike the men of past eras, we underestimate and often devalue the sensoriality, to the benefit of more complex and elaborate mental functions, such as thinking, forgetting the close relationships that this has with the senses.
Through the olfactory laboratory we see how the ideas, the visions evoked by the sense of smell are protagonists. Every single fragrance has its own particular story and on the other hand every single participant lives it in an original way. The fundamental characteristic of the laboratory is the particular care with which the essences are chosen. Raw materials are sought as they release emotional vibrations that the synthetic product does not favor. Like color and sound, even the smell is vibration and consequently it is capable of producing an emotional experience.


Festival della Mente, Sarzana (2016)



In 2016 Maria Candida created the perfume Rrose Selavy by both getting inspired by and payng homage to the double personality of Marcel Duchamp and the Dada spirit of the creative act. This creating installation is the occasion to get the audience totally immersed in the world of the artist Marcel Duchamp-Maria Candida Gentile.

In 1921 Marcel Duchamp decided to identify himself with the feminine alter ago of Duchamp selavy and as Rrose Selavy will be portraited twice by Man Ray.

Rrose selavy sounds in French like “Eros c’est la vie“.

The adding of R broadens its meaning to “arroser la vie”or “cheers to life”.


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