Perse Now

18 Feb 2024 | Works

The power of Now, or the Power of New?

One Tuesday morning, on my way to the farmer’s market in the city, I decided to take my nose on a little holiday. I stepped into my favourite perfume store and started to explore. Soon I had a bunch of test papers fanning out from between my fingers. One perfume in particular caught my attention, in a crystal clear bottle, named “Per se”. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it sounded very French and elegant.

I took a sample home and spent some time researching the brand (2787) and reading about the perfume and its creator, Shyamala Maisondieu.

I learned some fancy new words reading about this perfume! How it’s the “antithesis” to traditional modern perfume, and “unparalleled”. There was also a sentence I didn’t quite get - “either you go with the times, or you go with time” - but I think it all boils down to how time never stops and how the Now is never the same. (I got a little annoyed by this mumbo jumbo, to be honest.)

Then I did a little calculation: if you buy the 87 millilitre bottle for 250 euros, then 1 ml is 2.9 euro. One millilitre is about 4-5 taps of the perfume dispenser, which is the amount that I use before I go out of the house. If you buy the small bottle (27 ml for 125 euros), it’s even more expensive - 1ml is 4.6 euro. So getting ready to leave the house costs me 5 euros!

Conclusion: To capture the current moment is VERY EXPENSIVE.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this perfume!

It inspired me to create this painting, and I only ever paint out of love, never out of anger. But I wouldn’t mind a little less marketing talk…

When I consider the perfume, I think it’s not about now. It made me feel new. A crystal transparent feeling, pleasant, crispy, expecting something good. Refreshed. Like a sunflower in an ice cube. Like sunlight just breaking through the misty blue sky on a cold morning. The moment of something about to begin. A fresh start, but carrying on something that you’ve left unfinished the day before.

The music that I hear with this perfume is the middle bit of Chet Baker singing “Dancing on the ceiling”, around the 1:12 mark, when vocalises, like he’s singing in the shower.

The colours that I see with it at dark green, grey, a pale ivory yellow, a bright green, pink.

Going back to the notes, I could recognise the colours. Green is bamboo, grey is the aldehyde, the flower bouquet is the ivory yellow and the pink.

With this painting, I wanted to create the feeling of morning sunlight with a blurry bokeh effect, shining to a bamboo forest.

I did go back to the store and buy the perfume in the end. It will be by perfume for 2024, and it will make me feel very expensive, pleasant and new when I wear it.



Something a bit old, but the ideas are still new