The presentation at Kunstverein Hannover is American artist Kaari Upson’s (b. 1972 in San Bernadino, lives in Los Angeles) first institutional exhibition in Germany. Upson’s multilayered sculptural, drawing-based, and cinematic works explore traumas rooted in incisive personal experiences.
In prototypical domestic spaces, the artist draws on her own past by molding it in latex, painting it, and finally transferring it to the exhibition space as (abstract) sculptures. Her drawings represent psychologically-charged worlds that bear witness to traumatic memories and experiences. The exhibition at Kunstverein Hannover features a series of films in which she appears as a protagonist: Upson can be seen dressed in clothes worn by her mother, who emigrated from Hanover to the United States in 1965, or she embodies the Botox-injected women who fulfil stereotypical, heterosexual male fantasies as living sex dolls. Sprinkled with quotations that Upson herself grew up with around Hollywood, the artist’s cinematic work reflects the utopian fantasies and American dream factory seduction mechanisms that are already in decline at the moment of their creation.
Kaari Upson’s work featured at this year’s 58th Venice Biennale and in the Whitney Biennial and the 15th Istanbul Biennial in 2017, the same year that a solo exhibition of her work opened at the New Museum in New York. Showing concurrent to her Kunstverein Hannover exhibition is »Go Back the Way You Came«, an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel with a newly commissioned body of films and sculptures by Kaari Upson.