Artist Juno Calypso’s Photos Question Constructed Femininity

I usually spend Monday mornings trawling the internet for cool exhibitions and interesting artists. Today I came across the young artist Juno Calypso, whose large-format photographs examine—in her own words—“modern rituals of beauty and seduction.” The London-born 25-year old has recently gotten into self-portraiture and with this came the birth of the character, Joyce. The artist stages elaborate scenes using objects once perceived as “radical, innovative and fun” (1980s computers, an electronic face mask, and tinned meat, to name a few) with Joyce in the middle of the scene: she is portrayed as alone and totally fallen to consumerism and all its trickery. “Her glazed appearance acts as a mirror to the exhaustion felt while bearing the dead weight of constructed femininity,” says the artist.

Indeed, there is something both saccharine and sinister about Calypso’s work. The colors are vibrant and poppy, but Joyce looks joyless. With a face full of make-up and a killer outfit, she is portrayed as a ‘desperate’ housewife surrounded by stuff she definitely doesn’t need, in the series ‘Joyce II.’ Reminiscent of fashion editorials and 1980s-inspired gangster films (I see Sharon Stone in Casino, but maybe it’s just me), these powerful shots question a woman’s perceived place in the home and as consumer numero uno! In the older series ‘Joyce I,’ the artist examined women in the workplace and focused on the women selling other women useless beauty products like a face massager. Watch this space for what this Catlin Prize-winning artist will do next!

Joyce 1_2

“Reconstituted Meat Slices”, from the series “Joyce II”, 2013

Joyce 1_1

“Disenchanted Simulation”, from the series “Joyce II”, 2013

Joyce 1_3

“12 Reasons You’re Tired All the Time”, from the series “Joyce II”, 2013

Joyce 2_1

“Check-In”, from the series “Joyce I”, 2011

Joyce 2_2

“Agency”, from the series “Joyce I”, 2011

Joyce 3_2

“Massage”, from the series “Joyce I”, 2011

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