Photo: Jackman Chiu
Faith La Rocque - Toronto, Canada
l’air du temps, 2013
24 - 2 Queen Street East
[ photographs ] [ video ]
Inspired by artist Marcel Duchamp’s delicate readymade Air of Paris, this scent installation
invites visitors on an olfactory journey to Paris in 1919 and references specific moments in the influential
artist’s oeuvre and biography.
On December 27, 1919, Duchamp purchased a glass vial from a chemist located 'on the corner of rue
Blomet and rue de Vaugirard' in Paris. He had the pharmacist empty the vial of its contents (medicinal
elixir) and reseal it using a blowtorch so that it contained only air. Duchamp then labelled the flask
Serum Physiologique and, on his return to the United States, presented the artwork to collector Walter
In l’air du temps, La Rocque creates a unique sensory environment by considering scent as a
potent physical medium – though invisible and intangible – and explores qualities the air
of Paris might have possessed in December 1919, post-WWI.
Was it solemn or victorious, fresh or polluted? Visitors are encouraged to use their noses to perceive
the installation, calling upon their own memories and imagination to experience the artwork.
Faith La Rocque is a multidisciplinary artist who appropriates alternative health practices and products
to investigate themes of belief, ritual and consumption in relation to the pursuit of health and “wellness.” La
Rocque creates active installations that allow for critical awareness, sensory experience and physiological
With assistance from Tracy Pepe, scent designer Nose Knows Design and PLAZA for their support