Scents and sensibility: Leah Capaldi sprays actors in Chanel for performance piece

Emma Love
Friday 20 May 2011 00:00 BST

Leah Capaldi's performance piece involves two actors at a time (one female, one male), who will each be sprayed with a whole bottle of Chanel Allure or Allure Pour Homme. They will walk among visitors at The Tramshed in London, as part of an exhibition of work, by this year's five shortlisted artists for The Catlin Art Prize – taken from The Catlin Guide, an annual survey of the 40 most promising art graduates.

"The idea came from when I was at the British Museum a while ago looking at a statue and a woman walked past me wearing so much perfume it was unbelievable. I found it stifling and had a real physical reaction; I had to walk to the other end of the gallery to get out of that space," says the RCA sculpture graduate Capaldi, who has already sprayed herself with perfume and travelled on public transport around London in the rush hour to see how people would react.

As well as looking at what people's first instinctive response will be when they're looking at a painting and suddenly a waft of the scent reaches them, she also thinks gender will make a difference. "When a man wears too much aftershave it's like a fox spraying his corner; when a woman has too much perfume, it's almost embarrassing. I think the viewer will react differently."

The Catlin Art Prize, Tramshed, London EC2 ( to 22 May

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