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.
Kunstverein Hannover commemorates Kaari Upson
US-American artist Kaari Upson presented her first institutional exhibition in Germany in 2019 at Kunstverein Hannover. In »DOOR, OPEN, SHUT«, she provided insight into her fascinating and complex work. In sculptures, drawings and films, Upson deals with traumata based on personal experiences. Especially in her films, she often acted herself as a protagonist and dealt with delusions and the promises of wealth the American Dream augured which she demystified brilliantly.
The time spent together while preparing the exhibition, the talks and conversations we had on the conception of her show as well as her as a hearty person will stay unforgotten. Her ability to reflect on her own work and her sincerity for the allegedly given aspects in life will be a vivid memory. Our sincere thoughts and deepest sympathy Go to Kaari Upson’s relatives and loved ones.