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Clara MULLER

Biography


Vit à : Paris et Sancerre

Art historian, art critic, writer and independent curator, Clara Muller, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Université Paris Diderot, Panthéon-Sorbonne, New York University and Columbia University. For several years she has been pursuing research on the politics of breathing as a mode of perception in contemporary art as well as on the various artistic and literary practices using odors as a medium or subject. She contributes to academic publications, such as Olfactory Art and the Political in an Age of Resistance (Routledge, 2021) or Les Cahiers Lautréamont n°2 (Classiques Garnier, 2020), and regularly gives classes and lectures addressing  from various angles the intersections between arts and olfaction.

Author of both critical and creative texts for numerous exhibitions, but also within artist monographs and exhibition catalogues, she also collaborates with various contemporary art magazines, in France and abroad (Art Press, Possible, Point Contemporain, Transverse, 10011, Clot Magazine, etc). Editor for the olfactory magazine Nez since its creation in 2016, she focuses on olfactory evocations in the arts, design, architecture and literature. She also contributes to the collection “The Naturals Notebooks” for which she studies in an unprecedented and in-depth way the place of flowers in the history of the visual and decorative arts.

She has collaborated with many Parisian museums, including the Grand Musée du Parfum in 2016, the musée de la Vie Romantique and the Musée d’Art Moderne, and curated, alone or as part of collectives, several multi-sensory exhibitions, notably “Nez à Nez. Contemporary Perfumers” at the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts in Lausanne in 2019, “Fashion and perfumes. A century of influences” at the French Institute of Cambodia and “Living with Scents” at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco in 2022.

Exhibitions


02/06/2022 22/10/2022

Mode et parfums. Un siècle d’influencesInstitut Français du Cambodge, Phnom Penh 

The official union of fashion and perfume in the Roaring Twenties constituted a revolution in the art of perfumery in the Western world. A generation of couturiers-perfumers was born at this time, of which Paul Poiret was the pioneer. The perfume is then conceived as an essential accessory, an extension of the silhouette. Thus clothes, fragrances and their packaging formed a coherent and strategic whole, perfumery representing a lucrative activity making it possible to finance that of couture. This high productivity was made possible by the advent of synthesis, which considerably broadened the range of perfumers. Many couturiers then hired the services of an “in-house” perfumer-creator. All fashions now find their scented expressions. The exhibition portrayed eight emblematic of these fashion houses.

12/02/2022 05/06/2022

Living With Scents — Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco 

Odors are perceived with every breath we take and immediately interpreted by the most ancestral parts of our brain. In recent years, researchers and practitioners, from the neurosciences to the humanities, have strived to gain a better understanding of the sense of smell, which deeply, yet often unknowingly, shapes the way we live. Albeit elusive and ephemeral in nature, scents may thus be purposefully used to improve many aspects of our lives. In the hands of contemporary designers, scents are mediated in innovative ways to raise a form of new sensory awareness. This exhibition featured 40 of these designers and artists from all over the world whose work reflects and participates in the growing culturalization of all things olfactory.

14/12/2018 16/12/2018

En conversation — Villa Belleville, Paris 

Curated with Collectif Empreinte.

Informal, intellectual, confrontational, conversation helps to extend and articulate thought, to bring ideas to fruition, so that new possibilities arise. Exchanging with others allows you to change, without getting lost or distorted, argues Edouard Glissant. Agreement or confrontation, convincing or being convinced, it is a whole rhetoric of collective work that takes place in the conversation. And if the interview has become one of the favored forms of discourse on contemporary art, it is not only because of renewed interest in the words of the artist. It is also because it sheds light behind the scenes of creation and reveals, a posteriori, unsuspected trajectories.

05/04/2018 17/04/2018

Objet de tendresse — Galerie Michel Journiac, Paris

Curated with Collectif Empreinte.

Tenderness first evokes a deep emotional attachment, imbued with benevolence, love and gentleness. We think less often of its material counterpart, tenderness, with which it shares the same etymological root. Emphasizing the tender character of a material, the word can designate both its delicacy, its fragility, or even its malleability. Characteristics which, in their figurative sense, also translate aspects specific to tenderness. However, she never allows herself to be completely defined. Fuzzy, relational, fluid, it seems to dissolve in the objects and people who wear it. Through their forms, textures and discourses, the works draw this intangible and moving feeling.

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