Shock has been one of the staples of art since, undoubtedly, from the violence of cave painting to the horror of Francis Bacon. The brilliant scent artist Jérôme Epinette has used shock here in a peculiar and wonderful way—shocked pleasure. For those who’ve traveled in the humid heat of Southeast Asia and passed by steaming, discarded peels of ripe mango, fructose-laden jackfruit, crushed pale-white rambutan like smashed, sweetly rotting eyeballs, the acidic hyper-sweet of warm pineapple, Epinette brings a shock of recognition.
But we all know this tropical fruit explosion if only from smelling its individual pieces. And we all know both the hot hyper-awareness of others’ bodies during sex and the banalization of others’ bodies during sex. Frank Fort presents two porn actresses with orange skin and bleached blond hair that glows. Hyper-Realism is a style that shocks almost axiomatically, and both Fort’s and Epinette’s enhanced-reality works are like radiation, startling, unnerving, erotically pleasing, strangely off-putting, fascinating.