Damask Rose, Wild Freesia, Water Lily, Ocean Mist were the four words on the front of the invite card for O’Brien’s show. Each colour was the same as that of one of the four different small coloured disks stuck to the gallery wall. Each disk was opened to release its own perfume, which was designed to deodorise a room, usually a toilet. They were attached in what might at first seem like a random pattern but as the viewer looked they could work out that it was some sort of code. In actual fact it was a text in brail, the language developed for blind people who run a finger over the raised dots in a book, to read the story. O’Brien’s work could not be read by sighted people or those who were blind. It text, it’s message its meaning lost to all. Yet the work was overpowering as the smell from the various disks, each named as per above created an overpowering chemical melange that did not speak nor smell of nature.
Dermot 0'Brien Lives and works in the UK. Untitled, 1995 Installation view: the Museum of Installation, London. Photograph: Edward Woodman.