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Grand Seiko



Good morning.

This week, we visit the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, where “RE_________,” a scent-based exhibition of works by the Berlin-based artist Sissel Tolaas, is currently on view. The largest presentation of Tolaas’s work to date, the show presents an array of her laboratory-esque installations exploring large-scale social issues such as the climate crisis, evolution, anthropology, and geopolitics. More than simply an olfactory playground, the show compels visitors to reconsider how they perceive reality.

On this week’s episode of Time Sensitive, Spencer’s in conversation with chef Eric Ripert, the co-owner of the New York restaurant Le Bernardin, about finding compassion in life and the kitchen through Buddhism.


Installation view of “RE_________” at the ICA Philadelphia. (Courtesy the ICA)

At the ICA Philadelphia, Sissel Tolaas Presents Smell as a Poetic Provocation


By Iris McCloughan



Walking into the cavernous first-floor gallery of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia—where “RE_________,” an exhibition by the Norwegian-born, Berlin-based artist Sissel Tolaas is currently on view (through Dec. 30)—feels like stepping into a scientist’s laboratory, if the scientist it belonged to had also studied minimal sculpture. There’s a wall of small vials printed with the artist’s name, each containing a bit of clear liquid. Plastic tubes and metal piping run high along the gallery, carrying who knows what to who knows where. Others descend from the ceiling towards concrete reservoirs that have been raised from the floor. One of them is disgorging, drop by drop, a bit of unknown liquid. In the center of the room, an assembly of large flasks, some of which are bubbling, releasing visible vapor into the air, surrounds a huge pillar. Beyond it is a long, multilevel plinth covered in small objects; in the center of the floor, an assemblage of glass sculptures, seemingly empty. 

The largest presentation of the artist’s work to date, the ICA show fills both floors of the museum with Tolaas’s carefully constructed artworks that use the act of smelling to consider large-scale social topics such as the climate crisis, evolution, anthropology, and geopolitics.  

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