The 100 Scents. TRANSLUCENTS #2

Another category is the “Translucents”: the unseen, meticulously spun, twisted manifold webs that use to cover, to sheath and embrace. The animal fat, the lard, is a basic ingredient in the making of the soap in the village households. The lard would smell like the skin itself. It was, for me, part of the same olfactive family as those of the waxes, the milk, the pollen, the fiber of the flax and hemp, made to thread through a tremendously laborious process and then weaved into precious tissues that would wrap the bodies, cover windows, walls, floors, beds, tables, foods and corpses. The Translucents were the sunflower and pumpkin oils and the wool of the first shearing of lambs.

(© Transl. from French, Luiza Mogosanu, L´intime à l´oeuvre. La peau des 100 odeurs, PAF, 2013)

The 100 Scents

TRANSLUCENTS

Another category is the “Translucents”: the unseen, meticulously spun, twisted manifold webs that use to cover, to sheath and embrace. The animal fat, the lard, is a basic ingredient in the making of the soap in the village households. The lard would smell like the skin itself. It was, for me, part of the same olfactive family as those of the waxes, the milk, the pollen, the fiber of the flax and hemp, made to thread through a tremendously laborious process and then weaved into precious tissues that would wrap the bodies, cover windows, walls, floors, beds, tables, foods and corpses. The Translucents were the sunflower and pumpkin oils and the wool of the first shearing of lambs.

(© Transl. from French, Luiza Mogosanu, L´intime à l´oeuvre. La peau des 100 odeurs, PAF, 2013)

 

The 100 Scents. GREEN

Green was not only a visual perception. In order to reclaim the sensation of green, my body would turn into a sort of a primal membrane that would function through inhaling and exhaling the sap. This elemental integument would feed itself off the smell of freshly cut grass and off the sweet-peppery taste of raspberry beetles that would nest inside the fruits. Green were the vapours of the trimmed celery leaves in the morning, the whiff of mint, the touch of nettles, the smell of chive and savory plucked during the rain; it was the salted lovage, the thyme, the tarragon and the peas in the hot drinks… It was the greasy juice of the green walnuts husks on our hands. It was the acrid dry basil that covered the shelves of the wardrobes at the countryside, used as insect repelling and which perfume would envelope the Sunday clothes in a stiff and spicy breeze. Together, these green fluids would cut into the skin´s layers, to refill them with a rain of heavy incenses, acid, stinging and bitter.

(© Transl. from French, Luiza Mogosanu, L´intime à l´oeuvre. La peau des 100 odeurs, PAF, 2013)

The 100 Scents. PINK

“Pink” were the hyperpalatable confectionery exuding nauseous amounts of strawberry flavor.

The strawberry powder bounced breezly from boxes, cans, cartons, bags, packs, pockets, patches, sticks, batons and bars, foils, tins and wrappings; it was the smell of holidays with the family reunited, with aunts and cousins who would bring these happy gifts from abroad to the kids home, before and after the Revolution days. “Pink” were the squashy and spongy pastes, the pulpy soft candies, the lollipops, the chewing gums and bubble gums, the hard candies, the fudges, the jelly candies, the gummi bears, the gummi worms, the pastilles, the gumdrops, the dragées, the gumballs and the candy balls, the marshmallows, the fondants, the jellies, the syrup, the juices, the sodas, the fluids, the puddings, the mousses, the mushy sugary vanilla sauces, the flavored mints, the sweethearts, the glucose drops, all in a variety of shapes and colors that always captivated me as a child. The scent was homogeneous, furtive and frangible. Far from genuine, the taste was a sort of a silly cover up, a clandestine, and all-day-craved prêt-à-manger allowance.

(© Transl. from French, Luiza Mogosanu, L´intime à l´oeuvre. La peau des 100 odeurs, PAF, 2013)

 

The Art of Memory: The “100 Scents” Revisited

“The Art of Memory” arrived unscathed throughout the yesterday transportation home… Reading last night in the exhibition guest book i strongly need to express my gratitude and joy to every one who made it to the exhibition – especially during that freak flood mayhem in the city! Thank you for your words, thank you for being there and making the night into such a wonderful moment!! Beating Heart Emoji, Google style 💖

 

The Art of Memory archive started roughly 10 years ago, as a necessity to record “evidences” of a new experience that was just unfolding – the “self-imposed exile” as i used to call it, in an unknown country, isolated from familiar environment and native language and being delivered to puzzling challenges where the every day justification and questioning of my identity was probably the most painful of them.

This archive turned slowly into an artistic practice and became the research incentive for my Master degree, L´intime à l´oeuvre. La peau des 100 odeurs. The theoretic work studies the autobiographic works – foremost those in the field of fine arts and the implications of turning one´s intimate space into a work medium. The last chapter, “La peau des 100 odeurs. 100 odeurs de l´intime” (“The Skin of 100 Scents. 100 Inner Scents”) decomposes the experiences of a “self-imposed exile” from the sensorial perspective. There are certain scents, smells, flavours, fragrances and odors that are playing a critical role in the building (or rebuilding when it had been lost) of identifiable (communication) structures.

These scents are organized in the chapter into an “olfactory atlas”, according to the earliest memories of childhood and classified into ten color-coded categories: Green/The Sap (vert – les sèves); Reds (les rouges – les terres); Translucents (les translucides); Heavy Whites (les blancs riches); Grey/Smoke (les fumés); Gold (l´or); Pinks (les roses); Blue (le bleu); Placenta (placenta); Penicillin (pénicilline).

I started this week to build actual capsules for each of the described scent using the depicted materials. I started with the last category the “Penicillin” which is described as it follows:

The last category is the Penicillin. The smell of anxiety, phobia and the fear of disintegration of the flesh. The smell of penicillin is under the sign of inorganic decay, of isolation, of  miserable helplessness, like the taste of exile in its dire light. In this category belong the smells and scents that are linked to the primary safety needs. As a child, the nec plus ultra of fear was represented by the stench of antibiotic that i use to take in large quantities over long periods of time. In this category belong as well, the smell of hospital disinfectant, of fresh cast and of concrete – a material which marked a demolishing political regime prone to dismantle a society of its individual traits.

(© Transl. from French, Luiza Mogosanu, L´intime à l´oeuvre. La peau des 100 odeurs, PAF, 2013)