When first looking at Juno Calypso’s work, there is something oddly disturbing and critical about her take on femininity, portrayed through her imagined persona of a woman called ‘Joyce’. Despite how grotesque and elaborate it is, you cannot seem to take your eyes away from any of it – It stares back at you; inside of you.
Juno Calypso is a London-born artist, recently graduating from University of the Arts London with a BA Hons in Photography. She works mainly with large-format photography and moving image/video installation, usually pairing the two side-by-side in an exhibition space. This past year alone, Calypso has been the winner of both the Hotshoe Award and the Michael Wilson Photographic Prize and in 2009 she was short-listed for AOP Student Photographer of the Year. In December 2011, she held her first solo show in London, showcasing selected works. Currently, she lives in East London and is the co-founder of photography collective, Artificial Kingdom.
‘Joyce’ is a character that Calypso has been portraying and capturing for some time now. There’s a Cindy Sherman-esque aspect to her work, the idea of creating another persona and becoming that persona believable enough for your audience – In essence, living out that persona through the lens. In looking at her photographs/moving image, it seems as if there’s this un-dying and never-ending dissatisfaction with moving on from the subject – She has become (the character) Joyce. Her depictions of Joyce are somewhat ‘typical’ of femininity, but that’s what makes her subject matter so intriguing – It’s something that an average woman can relate to. The monotonous, lifeless gaze that Joyce depicts, along with her actions, makes the viewer connect with her on a basis of empathy and (quite possibly) pity. But apart from all of that – The underlying meaning of the images, the way the artist connects with the viewer – If you pay attention enough directly at the imagery, the meticulous and attentive detail to all of Calypso’s imagery is despicable. That’s definitely something to be respected for.
Images courtesy of Juno Calypso – www.junocalypso.com