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 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)

 

Summer Travels To SE Europe

Prompted by the working energy on the new chapter of my memory atlas, “The 100 Scents”, i decided to revisit my birthplace, Craiova, in the southern region of Romania. There were distant reminiscences, from childhood travels, of extensive tobacco fields, endless sunflower plantations, copious watermelon production and brutal, ruthless waves of heat, i felt a structural urge to immerse myself into again. Moreover, it was Brâncuși´s work in Targu Jiu i had to see. I made it, while my stay in Paris to his Atelier, left by his will to the French state, but did not make it until now to Targu Jiu, a small town, at about 70 km north of Craiova.

Craiova, Romania

 

Targu Jiu, Romania

Before our trip to Romania we stayed for five days in Athens. We flew then from Athens to Bucharest, traveled by train to Craiova, Targu Jiu, then through the Eastern Carpathians up to the southern border of Transylvania. We then left the country and headed home with a three days break in Budapest.

 

Brasov, Romania

 

Budapest, Hungary

For the first time in Greece and in Athens, the city is a towering experience. It stroke me, above all as an overwhelmingly beautiful city. It is a heavy pack of pungent savors and sounds, sundry aromas, sea smells and manifold emanations, some of them reaching delightfully far, some surprisingly familiar. We did plunge into historical tours, besides a whopping 40°C, flanked tightly by a humming crowd of jaunty selfie hunters. A draining and rewarding venture, being it (also) for the Martin Parr humble genuflection.

Athens, Greece