Shigenobu Twilight

Grounded by a woody base of cedar, the fragrance combines top notes of yuzu fruit, shiso leaf and black pepper as well as heart notes of thyme and frankincense.

The first volume in the Biography series, Shigenobu Twilight, is inspired by Fusako Shigenobu, fabled leader of the Japanese Red Army. The perfume’s esoteric notes intimate metaphors of Shigenobu’s stateless existence, exiled in Lebanon while yearning for her native Japan. Originally designed in 2007 by Yi and architect Maggie Peng, Shigenobu Twilight has been specially reformulated for the Biography series by perfumer Barnabé Fillion.

Sold in a limited edition Anicka Yi sculptural bottle (1/333)

10ml Eau de parfum

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But what is truly special about these fragrances are the scents themselves, and the very artistic ambition they share: to use an invisible medium, scent, to reanimate women that were made invisible by history.

In her biggest exhibition to date at the Guggenheim in 2017, the museum’s gallery was filled with a perfume called Immigrant Caucus, made up of the smell of the pheromones of carpenter ants and the sweat of Asian-American women—synthesized with the help of perfumers.

Anicka Yi thinks of making perfumes as something of a philosophical exercise. Questions of analogy, narrative, composition, and chords went into the creation of Biography, her new collection of perfumes that aim to challenge historical understandings of femininity, as well as those of commercial fragrances.

Yi’s Biography comprises three fragrance “volumes,” imagined scent-worlds for different personae, each of which comes suspended in clear acrylic bottles with interior garnishes, like futuristic fossils, of ladybugs, ants, or flies, depending on the scent.

A set of odorous contemplations of the past and future of our species as personified by pharaoh Hatshepsut, Japanese communist Fusako Shigenobu, and a fictional AI entity comprised of every female experience ever. Available at Dover Street Market New York and Los Angeles

Yi thinks about perfume as similarly symbiotic and participatory. With the help of master perfumer Barnabé Fillion, she produced three scents intended to evoke three strong female characters.

The ingredients she has used in her concoctions have already included the bacteria of 100 female artists, powdered milk, and the tissue of carpenter ants, all artfully employed to explore notions of consciousness and the potential of life forms.

Biography presumes to be many things, but mostly it is a collection of three new unisex fragrances, which will be available this month in a limited run alongside colognes by Comme des Garçons at Dover Street Market in New York and Los Angeles, in an installation that incorporates “the microbial, the insect, the industrial, and then the humans all around.