Julie C. Fortier, The Tyranny of Distance, 2018
"Sébastien : So I think we’ll start with Julie Fortier, since her work suggests many of the themes and leads us in many of the directions that we want to go. So in her practice Julie Fortier often works with scent and food. For us she has made a perfume that is a portrait of the art school of Angers. She identified seven different smells that she got from Angers. The public is invited to write down their interpretation of what they smell, and then these responses will be sent back to Julie, who will make another perfume from these responses. So at some point the second perfume will be sent to Los Angeles and will be placed together with the first perfume for comparison.
Maud: We wanted to start with this work because it emphasizes the bodily dimension that is so important to this exhibition. The piece really involves translation between smell and language. And smell is a very particular sense because it is quite a challenge to put smell into words. It’s a very bodily, and very subjective kind of translation that’s going on. Not only for the public who receives this work by inhaling it into the body and is invited to interpret this smell, but also for the artist who is manifesting a space as a smell, then reinterpreting a set of descriptions into another smell.
Anna: Of course smell is something very ephemeral and associative, so it resists being captured by the structured demands of language. So this piece also reminds us of the inadequacy of language, and that something is inevitably lost when translating from one form to another."
This text is an excerpt from the performance The Infiltration by Joshua Schwebel whose project was to infiltrate the curators’ position in the exhibition. Read more