KAARI UPSON: NEVER ENOUGH, DESTE FOUNDATION, ATHENS [26/5-27/10 2022]Marilena Pateraki
The DESTE Foundation is pleased to present Never Enough, an exhibition that pays tribute to Kaari Upson (1970–2021), which will take place at the DESTE Foundation in Nea Ionia, Athens between May 26 and October 27, 2022. The show was especially curated by the artist’s close friend, Dakis Joannou.
Over her brief yet prolific 15-year career, Kaari Upson developed an elaborate universe woven out of memory, conjecture, fact, and fiction. Imbued with a mystical animism, each sculpture, painting, drawing, and video merges personal and collective traumas, desires, fears, and fantasies. For Upson the key to accessing oneself could be found in one’s possessions, especially those contained in the home. Upson’s interest in domesticity grew out of The Larry Project (2007–2012), a series of works in which she investigated the psyche using a mysterious neighbor, whom she later called “Larry”. Having acquired a significant amount of his personal belongings Upson obsessively researched him giving rise to an astonishing body of work about a man she never met. In several videos Upson appears in multiple roles playing a version of herself, a twin, a lover, her mother, a friend—all while reenacting, theorizing, and questioning aspects of domesticity, personae, and interpersonal relationships. Other works in the series include the iconic “Kiss” painting diptychs, in which she smashed together a portrait of Larry and a self- portrait, while the paint was still wet to create a distorted merger of the two characters. Upson also brought the characters to life by creating a life-size doll of Larry that features in the videos and was later cast in charcoal along with one of herself.
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