Everybody who has read my blog for more than three posts, probably knows that I admire Vero Kern and her unique line of perfumes consisting of the inimitable Onda, the exotic Rubj, carefree Kiki and fairy-like Mito.
Vero is a Swiss perfumer, who came into the profession late in life. She followed her dreams and inspirations and realized her vision largely uninfluenced by marketing or financial considerations. It cannot be easy to go your own way, believe in yourself and stand true to your ideals in the face of so many opinions, so many people wanting a piece of the cake and so many newest and latest creations vying for attention in a crowded field.
Vero keeps her cool through it all. She does her thing, and she does it magnificently and for that I admire her. That she has a style that is uniquely hers and a warm and loving personality that only deepens my respect for her. Vero surely is my role model.
When I asked her to participate in the interview series, she did so immediately and enthusiastically and for that I want to thank her.
But now enough of my blabber, let’s move on to Vero’s charming and illuminating questionnaire…
A good day starts with… a deep blue sky and the brightest sunshine … sounds like a kitschy advertisement.
I’d never leave the house… without shoes on my feet.
I always feel good when… I can leave the dental office after the inevitable dental cleaning (which I profoundly hate).
My favourite thing in the world is… a hot water bottle!
The next thing I want to buy is… glamorous sexy underwear.
The place I always come back to is… Le Café des Amis in Zurich for a good Cappuccino and a brief look into the newspapers.
My personal style is… not to be stylish or trendy. Something like Lanvin meets Adidas. I love to mix soi-disant Haute Couture with trashy things. I buy in second-hand shops and from outlets. I’m interested neither in trends nor in style at all. The same goes for my daily life.
My favourite perfume… is the irresistible, sexy and beguiling scent of natural orange blossom.
When I travel, I… prefer to take the train instead of the plane. It’s much more comfortable and entertaining. I used to travel a lot by plane during my long job period at Swissair. I’ve definitely had it, so I find it very boring.
To relax I need… a short nap.
I like to gift people with…my love and affection.
When I have a bad day, I… spoil my soul with a Japanese sake bath or other similar extravagances, like an aroma massage.
I find my inspiration… everywhere. I’m a very curious person. I love absurdities, the extraordinary and the banal in daily life, in art and science.
Something I would never want to miss… my sense of humour.
My last mistake was… I missed an important date because I did not check my agenda.
In my fridge there is always…special cheese. I consider cheese making an art… like wine making, perfume making etc.
On my nightstand I keep… since always, The Praise of Shadows, an essay on Japanese aesthetics by the Japanese author and novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. Tanizakis literary work is characterized by the depiction of human passions in the field of tension between eastern and western cultures. In his famous essay The Praise of Shadows, section 14, he writes: “The natural law of the darkness in contrast to the white of the skin is essential for the ideal beauty of women. The interplay of darkness, wickedness of the entertainment district and the white make-up of the geisha, the relationship between the beautiful and the ugly.”
In this field of tension I move in my creations. I don’t intended to create mixtures that are as harmonious as possible. Rather, I am looking for light and shade, the ugly and the beautiful and I try to connect them, so a unique work of art can develop.
The perfect weekend starts with… a visit to our local market, where I find the best vegetables, fruits, cheese, flowers. The market is also a sea of different scents – I love it.
Life long, she worked as an artist, as a sculptor. Life long she did what she had to do – what was vital for her. And she arrived at the top, without having ever made compromises. Her work has always been only for herself. The glory has finally come to her, all by itself, thanks to a showcase organized by the Museum of, Modern Art 1982. After long decades in which she has quietly been working around New York in the shadow as an artist’s artist, as someone who was mainly known among her peers.
“Art is not about art” said Bourgeois, but about life. She never cared whether her work was a recognizable style. She took what she needed: steel, bronze, marble, plastic, wood or glass. She made the materials her own, she transformed them, sometimes in forms of pure Eros, shamelessly and without further ado, often in dark feasts of the phallus and the vulva. The last reason for these creations is human sexuality; beyond it there is nothing, neither in the body nor in the soul.
She has not improved with wisdom. She hasn’t achieved a “mature phase” in later life; she simply went on and on. The possibility of failure included…
She was already 70 years old, so about my current age, when Robert Mapplethorpe made the picture with the giant phallus of her. I love this beautiful vivid expression in her face, the mischievous eyes … her uncompromising life and art have always impressed and influenced me, they are a daily encouragement and a source of rich inspiration for my own work!
Something I always want to be asked in questionnaires like this is….????
Thank you so much for this entertaining, uplifting and inspiring interview, Vero! It was an honor and a pleasure! I particularly enjoyed learning about Louise Bourgeouis, it is not hard to see the similarities between these two women. I, for one, can only hope that I will eventually have at least a little bit of their inherent grace, elegance and poise, boundless creativity, uncompromising character and infectious zest for life.