The Salon by Juno Calypso at Galeria Melissa: an exploration of beauty and identity.

img_1962Ferranti F. (2018) JUNO X GERIKO. Galeria Melissa, Covent Garden, London.

The Salon is an immersive art installation by London-based artist @junocalypso, which “explores rituals of beauty and self-improvement, through the integration of sculpture, technology, fashion and film”.

The installation is hosted by Galeria Melissa in Covent Garden, which offers an interesting setting for this futuristic and, to a certain extent, alienating participatory space.

The photo above showed the jaw-dropping animated video that Juno Calypso did in collaboration with Geriko, the Franco-Belgian creative duo of Hélène Judy and Antoine Caecke , which can be seen on the first floor near the entrance.

The glitzy and gigantic 3D animation aims at attracting the audience, representing a sort of limbo, a welcoming space before the visit: the viewer is then transported in the “reality” of a pink spa with imaginary and mysterious clients, conveying feelings of seduction, love and desire through the chromatic combination of pinks and magentas.

Ferranti, F. (2018) Juno Calypso: The Salon. Galeria Melissa, Covent Garden, London.

“The basement is flooded with red light, signifying intense love, or horror. In this underground salon we find a group of anonymous figures, each dressed in identical gowns, wearing identical plastic beauty masks and identical plastic shoes from @melissaofficial SS18 ‘Mapping Collection. The Mapping collection explores the theme of identity and location.”

In the basement, visitors are encouraged to wear paper masks and actively partecipate in the project with the opportunity to share their experiences using the hashtag #junoandmelissa on social media.

This exhibition made me think of how much beauty standards influence the way in which we perceive our identity as part of collective rituals: beauty standards, like gender roles, are masks that people can wear and dismiss according to their own will. In this sense, beauty standards are performative.

To conclude, as Juno states, “[she] wanted the basement to be more reminiscent of a spaceship or cult headquarters than a beauty salon. Orchestrated to emphasize the way the beauty industry often mimics science fiction, while also encouraging a ritualistic and devout following. In [her] photographic work, [she has] always worked alone and used herself as the subject. This is the first time [she has] explored self-portraiture in 3D form.”

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