"The smell of iron upon contact with skin is ironically a type of human body odor. That we are smelling the metal itelf is actually an illusion. [...] That humans can 'smell' iron can be interpreted as a sense for the smell of blood. Early humans were thus probably able to track down wounded prey or tribe members."
Dietmar Glindemann, University of Leipzig
Metal is intrinsically linked to the evolution and fantasies of humanity. Copper, iron, bronze; metal is a marker of the Protohistoric Ages and the source of an anachronistic and futuristic iconography, dreamt up before the advent of plastic. Clément Pelisson works between the uses and perceptions of this ambivalent material, both primitive and sophisticated, heavy and light, dangerous and protective, hygienic and sensory... Whether in its odour or substance, metal allows Clément to evoke the body and its absence. Thus, in developing the essence Fe2+, he produces a chemical incarnation of the complex characteristics of metal as a reminder that it only generates an odour when it comes into contact with skin. The body becomes a receptor to metal in the Bondage Sculpture and the Neck Brace Sculpture for example, which require bodily form in their construction but ultimately exist without it. In the Engraved Plaque graffiti cut-ups from William S. Burroughs's The Soft Machine betray the body's passing and disappearance. Everywhere, the body consists of its trace, of a sensory reminder of what has been.
Fe2+ is the ion responsible for the smell of iron. Thanks to Irène Farmachidi, perfumer at Technicoflor, we developed a smell reproducing all the ambivalent perceptions we have when we experience metals. We showcased this smell in a multisensorial scenography.
Campaign shot by Charly Gosp, Hair by Joséphine Brignon, Make-Up by Andrew D'Angelo, Production by Samuel Bardaji and Marie-Anne Derville as model
Exhibition captured by Julia Andréone