What to do With a Million Years by Juno Calypso (TJ. Boulting)
What would you do if you had a million years?
The question echoes in the mind of the spectators, as they descend into the exhibition space in TJ. Boulting. The comfortable, yet terrifying viewpoint on immortality unfolds in Juno Calypso’s photographs, as she presents a new series set in a house built 26 feet underground as a
The house is an impenetrable golden mausoleum where time doesn’t exist; the furniture is perfectly preserved as the interiors have never been directly exposed to sunlight.
Designed to withstand any disaster, the shelter is unbreakable, and, thus, gives a taste of immortality; Calypso lived into Mary and Girard Henderson’s house for a few weeks, detaching herself from the outside world to answer the question that, eventually, became the title of her exhibition: “What to do With a Million Years”.
The underground house mirrors the common Las Vegas villas of the ‘60s: there’s a large garden provided with a barbeque and a pool – which, under Calypso’s vision, transcends its exotic decor and becomes a dark, secret, blue pond where she floats in the photograph “Immortal Bodies”.
In the first room of the exhibition, the photographs are distinctively either pink or blue toned, vibrant against the white walls. In the second area, blue and pink eventually meet in the same frame: they blend into purple hues as the room’s light gets dimmer – the soft ambiance partially tinted with a neon violet light, creating a sense of intimacy. Calypso is fully engaged with the exhibition space: nature is falsified in the second room as its floor is covered in plastic grass; fake climbing ivy twirls
The decaying opulence of
In “A Clone of Your Own”, Calypso is a nymph emerging from a bathtub surrounded by mirrors – wearing nothing but a mask and a crystal bikini as she confronts the viewer. Calypso, twisted in a forced sexual pose, becomes a mysterious creature outlined against the blue light of the early morning in “Erotic Nightmare”, whereas in “Subterranean Kitchen” the photographer is bent over the pink kitchen top, embodying the submissive American housewife of the 1960s.
The photographs are opposites and parallel to each other: Calypso turned the
The possibility of an atomic disaster loomed over The Cold War years: in an age when anything can be
Juno Calypso’s exploration of the possible ways to achieve eternal beauty continues through her self-portraits in What to do With a Million Years. As Calypso shows in her self-portraits the desperate efforts people commit to in order to follow the societal standards of beauty, her body becomes the intersection where the beautiful and the uncanny meet, perfectly highlighting the duality between ‘whimsical’ and ‘torment’ in immortality.