As the viewer enters Galeria Melissa they are welcomed by an animated video created in collaboration with GERIKO – Paris based animation and design duo Antoine Caeke and Hélène Jeudy. The animation glides the the viewer through a 3D rendering of a beautiful spa. The rosy pinks and magentas of the animation suggest desire, femininity and perfection: seducing the audience and inviting them in to see more.
Downstairs the basement is flooded with red light. Unlike the flirtatious pink that guided the viewer in, the colour red here signi- fies intense love, or horror. In this basement salon, we find a group of anonymous figures sitting on chairs or laying on treatment beds. Each dressed in identical gowns, wearing identical luminous beauty masks and identical plastic shoes from Melissa’s SS18 MAPPING collection. The MAPPING collection explores the theme of identity and location.
In The Salon, the figures are hiding their identities behind beauty masks while the viewers themselves will also be supplied with printed paper press releases that double up as masks, allowing them to be part of the immersive experience.
The basement is more reminiscent of a spaceship or cult headquarters than a beauty salon; purposely orchestrated to emphasise the ways in which the beauty industry often mimics science fiction, while also encouraging a ritualistic and devout following.
“Inspired by the statue artists of Covent Garden, I wanted it to be unclear whether these people were real or not. I wanted the au- dience to be slightly on edge, anticipating whether any of these models would suddenly spring to life. One figure in the room is a cast replica of myself. In my photographic work, I’ve always worked alone and used myself as the subject. This is the first time I’ve explored self-portraiture in 3D form. I wanted the audience to feel like they were really stepping inside one of my photographs.” – Juno Calypso