“All our knowledge begins with the senses.” Inspired by this quote by Immanuel Kant, Aesop‘s installation’s born of the belief that we absorb knowledge through the senses, with skin acting as an interface between our bodies and the world around us. Aptly, it’s also titled by the ancient Greek word for knowledge and understanding – Episteme.
Launching for the first time globally, the exhibition sees of three films that will extend a creative collaboration between the Australian beauty label and Dutch artist Bart Hess, which began in 2018 during the first iteration of Episteme in Melbourne.
Taking place at ION Art Gallery from now till Sept 29 and from 10am-10pm daily, Aesop reimagined the gallery space as a theatre of the senses. The space has been transformed into an interactive playground, and its main aim? To portray and dramatise the exact moments at which Aesop formulations touch skin’s surface through aroma, sound, tactile materiality, sculptural intervention and moving images.
“Bart really uses the human body as a canvas for his work and he plays with the materials and morphs materials to convey different messages – that really works well with us wanting to talk about the sensorial qualities and the physical benefits of our products,” said Marsha Meredith, creative director of Aesop.
And how exactly does Hess achieve this? ‘To illustrate the skin in states of transformation, I first consider the permeable and tactile nature of its boundary and the responsiveness of its surface,’ said Hess. ‘The digital manipulation in each film melds body and sensation, skin and material, reality and virtuality to express the effects of each product.’
Through this experience, Meredith said “I would like (visitors) to think of Aesop as a thoughtful company; one that expresses ideas differently from the category conventional way. I would like them to have a deeper understanding of the products highlighted and the benefits and why they would choose each of those products. For me, one of the most interesting thoughts throughout the project was understanding the world through our senses. At a couple of different intervals, it has made me think about whether I’m experiencing the world in the natural state – through my senses – or am I rationalising the world and overthinking it too much. It’s a nice opportunity to feel the world rather than ‘thinking’ the world.”
All images courtesy of Aesop
Not a stranger to such experiential pop-ups (the brand also had a part to play in the Singapore Night Festival in 2017), art runs in the veins on Aesop. Meredith shared, “Art is something that inspires us – as a company and as individuals. It also continues to allow us to learn, develop and communicate with our customers. It’s a genuine passion of all the people that work at Aesop. We believe that a good life is a balanced life, whilst we focus on skincare, the arts – be it literature or art or architecture – is part of having a good life.”
The three products that are featured at the exhibition are the brand’s most sought-after skincare products and those that are best suitable for the Asian market. Peep the replenishing best-sellers below.
What it is: A potent vitamin-rich serum formulated to balance and fortify the skin. Vitamin C and soothing vitamin B3 (also known as niacinamide), even out and balances the skin. While nourishing rose otto, sandalwood and frankincense oils along with sodium carrageenan provide all-day hydration. This matte-finish serum works best for those who dislike heavy oil-based hydrators.
What it is: Said to be soothing and nourishing, this cream contains extracts of parsley seed, white tea and rock rose that all provide exceptional fortification against free radicals when combined tocopherol and tocopheryl acetate. Due to its rich consistency, this one works best as an overnight moisturiser in our country’s climate. Let the sweet almond oil, shea butter and vitamin E in the product pamper your skin while you snooze.
What it is: A lightweight hydrating treatment made for normal to dry skin types, or for those exposed to dry, humid, or polluted environments. It’s infused with blue chamomile to balance and purify the skin; bisabolol and ginger root to calm and soothe; as well as sodium carrageenan to hydrate.