workshop (2013)


[Premier] ATSUKOBAROUGH, Tokyo, 11.09.2013. Sharing Vibes Exhibition

[Dates] 11.09.2013. (wed) - 29.09.2013. (sun)

[Place] ATSUKOBAROUGH - arts drinks talk - (next to Bunkamura)

[Artists] Maki UEDA/Kensyu SHINTSUBO/Fuyuki YAMAKAWA

[Curator] Yukiko SHIKATA

[Event] Maki UEDA workshop

"Search the space like a dog vol.2"

21.09. sat. 17:00~19:00








for “The Smell of War” exhibition

Title: The Juice of War Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Year: 2015

When I was a child, my bedroom contained a shelf of my mother’s books and one of these book was about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Inside I found photos of burned and rotten bodies. A field full of bodies that no longer look like bodies. It was in the high summer season so the bodies would quickly rot and flies laid eggs wherever they could.

The photos were so shocking to me that for nights I was afraid to go to sleep.  But I did not dare ask my mother to remove that book from my bedroom because it seemed rude to the victims. As I grew up I peeked into the book again and again, out of curiosity for the atomic bombings, and I realized that I was getting better in dealing with the fear. I ended up sleeping with that book until I left home at the age of 17.
I completely forgot about these pictures, but all of sudden, while I was thinking what to show here, I realized that they were the reason why I could not think anything else beside the smell of rotten flesh when I think of “the smell of war”.

In other words, working on this concept was digging into my memories.

Please put your head in a bowl. This smell was manually extracted from the juice of burned and rotten flesh.

The prime minister of Vlamish government also enjoyed the work at the opening.
At: The castle De Loving, Poperinge, Belgium. 

The Smell of War exhibition:

Curated by:  Peter de Coupere

This is a bizarre  story of purchasing meat of 20 euros at a supermarket, and made it rotten till it starts stinking for extracting the smell…  I am a bit ashamed to tell you the whole story but this is the real story behind this work.
When the curator Peter de Coupere asked me to participate in the exhibition with the theme of "the smell of war", I could not think of anything else than the smell of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That would be the case by most of Japanese.  We grew up with reading the cartoons "Hadashi no gen はだしのゲン", with full of illustration of burned and rotten corps and maggot. Also it illustrates the bad odor.
The interface design:
Purchasing the parts for "katrol"
I sew the acrylic bowl myself because there was no company who could do this... it was quite some work.
I asked Peter, the organizer, for hanging the bowl with some instructions.
In Japan at my atelier: I bought pieces of meat at a local supermarket: checkin and pork, and burned them.
And dried them for 10 days in the sunlight.
This is the simulation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was high in the summer time when they got bombed, and the burned corps got rotten quickly.  Flies lay eggs and it stank terribly everywhere.
After 5 or 6 days they started to smell like a garbage.  Around the 10th day it started to stink sour, and this was the limit (also for my neighbor...).
I extracted a little to check the smell and turned out that it was missing the burned scent, so I burned them extra.
Then sliced them.  My cutting board was suddenly covered with the flies. It was like a horror movie. I couldn't inhale even, so I inhaled the fresh air 10meters away and ran to the cutting board, and repeated this.
After the extraction, I filterd it, but it also releases smells everywhere... I got headache from it.  If I would have continued this process I would have gotten depressed.
In my fridge is the extract and beer mixed up…it's safe as long as it's concealed :-)

- a blind-date event for the other senses inspired by The Tale of Genji -


participatory installation for the other senses






Once upon a time, a man fell in love with a woman just by sensing her atomosphere behind bamboo curtains.  He used all the other senses than the sight just to synthesize the whole vision of her as a person. Subtle information as the scent of incense and her silk kimono carried by the wind, and the friction sound of her touch, was already enough for him to fall in love with her.

Back then in Japan, women were not allowed themselves to be exposed to public.  She was kept behind curtains her entire life, not even allowed to give a word to a man that she liked. The Tale of Genji is a classic work of Japanese literature in the early years of the 11th century that illustrates such unique depiction of the lifestyles of high courtiers during the Heian period. 

This event started from a question: "Can we also fall in love like that?"  

Modern communication is a lot thru by the sight so sex appeal is often made visually.  But in this event, the dating setup simulates the world of this novel, in the context of olfactory art.




- Waiting rooms are completely isolated visually, but sound-wise not (Japanese room is often made with paper)

- A man prepares a haiku poem related to the season and seasonal flowers. A woman gives permission to meet him if she likes it.

- They meet behind the curtains for 10 min.  The man may speak a word but the woman not. Her maid intermediates instead.



  “I experienced re-construction of the senses.  When you have the sights, scent is just  simple additional information.  But in this setup, when imagination becomes delution, you lose control. I was in total confusion: Any tiny information becomes sex appeal.”


M to F sex appeal examples:

-smell (perfumed on hair and kimono)

-letter (poem, calligraphy, flowers, scent on paper)


-play music

-the subtle sound of silk clothes and tabi socks



F to M sex appeal examples:


-smell (perfumed on hair and kimono)

-letter (poem, calligraphy, flowers, scent on paper)

-words carried by the maid

-the subtle sound of silk clothes and tabi socks



Kyoto Love Story

Les cheveux noirs et la madeleine (Black tresses and the madeleine) Exhibition

Premier: Kyoto Art Center (, 19 Dec 2015

Surpported by: Kyoto Saga Art University(

Curated by: Prof. Yoko Iwasaki

Concept: Maki Ueda


installation (2015)


[Premier]  24.03.2015. Exhibition"There is something in the air"

[Dates] 24.03.2015. - 

[Place] Museum Villa Rot, Germany

[Artists] Maki Ueda

[Curator] Caro Verbeek

[Supported by] Jean Bouis Perfumery Co., Ltd. 


"The walls are inpregnated with different woody smells: Cedarwood, Olibanum, Patchouli, and Labdanum. Find the exit by folling one scent that starts from the entrance."












- a perfume art for filling imaginations for a perfect Japanese woman -

perfume artwork, installation (2008)




This artwork consists of 4 fragrances.  Like in a perfume shop, you are free to spray them on the paper strips, smell them, and even to wear them.  After spraying, please allow 20 seconds until alcohol vaporizes completely, then enjoy the smell.

Each smell symbolizes how Japanese society expect women to be.  All the essences are manually extracted from the natural (raw) materials with distillation method or alcohol extraction method by the artist.










No. 1  Nukamiso

- the scent of motherhood -

There is an expression about housewives in Japanese: "A woman that stinks like Nukamiso".  It's an expression for the women who are so much stuck in the family life that they are not attractive as women anymore.

Nukamiso is salted rice-bran paste for making pickles.  Every family used to have a bucket that looks like a sauerkraut barrel.  The Nukamiso paste needs daily maintenance.  Therefore the hands of the housewives used to stink pretty sour like Nukamiso .  Mentioning such a smell was used as a metaphor for insulting housewives.

But that is slowly becoming the past.  Nowadays, Nukazuke became something to buy at the supermarket, so no woman knows anymore how to make Nukazuke at home.  In the near future women that stink like Nukamiso would not be seen with the traditional sense, but would be recognized as super feminine and sexy women!  Don't be too late.  When you serve Nukazuke to your husband, make sure that you spray this perfume on your hands, so that he thinks that you've made it yourself.  This is the eternal scent for motherhood.



(It's a pickling paste made with rice bran. It smells like 'zaurkraut'. I used alcohol to extract the smell.)


No. 2  Tatami

- the scent of freshness as new tatami

A Japanese proverb says: "Wives and tatami's are better when they are new."

Tatami is the traditional  Japanese carpet and floor woven from rush.  The traditional house is made with tatami and shoji (rice paper doors and windows).  New tatami is always preferred because it's clean and also giving the fresh and comforting smell of rush.  However the smell disappears as time goes by.  That has become a metaphor for a wife.

You would question: is it only a wife that is better when it's fresh?  How about a husband then?   Let's leave that question aside for a moment.  If you want to feel fresher and younger as a woman, this perfume is ideal for you.  It's the perfume for any generations.

* Most of the Japanese women give up their jobs and become pure housewives when they get married or when they get children.



(Japanese people make hard carpet with weaving this grass. The whole floor of Japanese house is made with this mat, so it's an important substance of Japanese house-smell. I used alcohol to extract the smell.)


No. 3  Miso Soup

- the scent of a woman in the kitchen -

A happy morning is to wake up with the sound of the kitchen and the smell of miso soup – that's the traditional image of a family.  Japanese people eat a warm meal in the morning.  Perhaps it has already become the past.

If you want to wake up your family with such an elegance, this perfume can help you.  This Miso Soup Perfume can be used as a room spray.  The family will wake up with the happiness resulting from the smell of Miso Soup.

This perfume is also useful for fooling the nose of your husband, in case you want to pretend that you've been working all day in the kitchen.



(It's a national soup made with miso, a fermented soy bean paste. I made the soup in the flask and extracted the smell with water distillation method.)


No. 4  Soap

- the scent of pureness and cleanness -

One of the most important morning rituals for  Japanese high school girls is to wash their hair just to scent the hair with the smell of shampoo.  If you don't have time to take a shower in the morning, you can scent your hair and your body with this perfume:  the smell of the soap.

Japanese men prefer women that represent pureness and cleanness.  Don't worry if you aren't.  This perfume will also emphasize the attractive contrast in yourself.

* Japanese people like the smell of soap very much.  Women often purchase perfumes that smell like a soap.



(I scraped a soap and extracted the smell with water distillation method.)



Gallery Roodkapje, Rotterdam (PREMIER), 09.2008.

Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, 17-25.10.2009.

World Technology Network Award, New York, 07.2009.

Artists Summit Kyoto, Japan, 12.2009.



Camera Japan Festival 2008



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