The 100 Scents. GOLD

Gold was the plenitude of the scents. Among the hill farmers, almost all fruits apart from the apple are referred to as “plums”. Cherries, greengages, mirabelle plums, peaches, apricots… The veins of their squashy flesh glimmers richly in the light and their secretions, alike the human skin flows, possesses a bouncy smarmy scent, reflecting golden hues.

Other golden odors were: the fried onion which embraced almost every cooked meal in a heavy perfume; honey, the epitome of liquid gold… The rum in which the grains from the “cake of the dead” were soaked; the egg yolks stirred with sugar and smeared on the Easter dry and flat figurines; the vinegar. There was the plum brandy which smelled like the apotheosis of all “plums”…





The green scent led me to the heated exhalation of the soil, just after the last ice. The earth, where i used to mold my female characters had shades between the fresh meat color and coal black.

The earth is a dark and humid gut populated by colonies of annelids and fluorescent gastropods emanating sweet steams of vanilla and cinnamon, cloves, cumin, baked poppy, saffron and ginger incenses from the Sunday cakes, mixed with the smell of wet brick and the stench of the moist fur… Red was taking shape not through the color of blood but through its vibrations. Blood meant the army of stinging fire ants which would leave sour traces on the skin.

Red was back then, in the earliest fiber of the memory, the overwrought breath of the horses and the irate beat of the orthodox wooden music tools; red would erupt from exhaustion and revulsion; it would emanate in its harrowing shades from the hidden carnage of the newborn cats and from the animal corpses found after attacks of nocturnal predators. The smell of earth and red could be found between the most atrocious stench and the bounty of incenses. It was in the eyes of the dead rats. It was in the madness of the priests. This scent species unifies the ghastly cry to the violent eruption of life.

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


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. 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)