15 May 18 - 23 Jun 18
What To Do With A Million Years
TJ Boulting are proud to present the first solo show at the gallery by Juno Calypso. Known for her iconic photographic series of self-portraits in ‘The Honeymoon Suite’, for this new body of work Calypso discovered a surreal and unique location – an underground house in Nevada, USA.
Built by Avon cosmetics founder Gerry Anderson in the 1960s, with the advent of the cold war he had decided to take the premise of a bunker in the back yard one stage further. The multimillionaire moved 26 feet underground into a 16,000 square foot luxury space, designed to withstand virtually any disaster and protect from almost any intruder. Above ground the original entrance is a cave-like hole but down below, as befits a Vegas home, there is an all-pink bedroom, crystal and gold fixtures in the bathrooms, a swimming pool, waterfall and hot tub, and hand-painted murals of outdoor scenery on the perimeter of the home and garden. As the interior had never been exposed to sunlight or outside air it was perfectly preserved, with no dust or sun damage on the furniture and wallpaper, and today the home remains in tact and as Henderson and his wife Mary built it. A computerised lighting system simulates daytime, sunset, dusk and night, complete with stars and the moon.
After Gerry died Mary moved to a newly built house directly above ground but died herself shortly after. The underground house is now unoccupied but kept in immaculate condition by a caretaker living alone above ground. As Calypso began her stay, sleeping and working alone downstairs, she immersed herself in the surroundings of the underground house and staged self-portraits in the different rooms. Whilst there she became aware that the current owners were in fact a mystery group with an enthusiasm for immortality. A stash of pamphlets found in the house detailing the latest innovations in cryonics from the 1960s to the present day served as inspiration, adding to the spirit of preservation running through the location’s past and present. What began as a house built off the fortune of a well-known cosmetics company, incorporating the pursuit of beauty and preservation of the living, had since taken a disturbing detour to become an eerie trophy of those who were more concerned with eternal life.
For this exhibition Calypso has produced an accompanying limited edition booklet drawing on the found printed materials alongside her own photographs. That this house even exists is a far-fetched fantasy that even Calypso could not have possibly imagined, proving once again that truth is indeed eternally stranger than fiction.
Juno Calypso (born 1989, London) studied photography at the London College of Communication, completing a BA in 2012. Developing a series of iconic self-portraits in isolated locations, for her most known project ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ she spent a week alone in the summers of 2015 and 2016 at a couples-only honeymoon resort in Pennsylvania, USA. She has won several awards including the 2016 British Journal of Photography International Award, Series winner, a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship in 2016, the 2013 Catlin Art Prize visitors award and was one of the 2016 Foam Talents. She has been selected for several international photo festivals including Riga 2018, Photo East 2018, reGeneration3 2015-16, the first Photo Vogue Festival in Milan, 2016 and Lianzhou Foto Festival in China, 2016. She has had her video work screened at Photo London, 2016, Tate Modern, 2015, and The Photographers’ Gallery, 2014. She lives and works in London.