Sleep With the Key
Massimo De Carlo gallery in Milan inaugurates its new season with Sleep With the Key, the first solo exhibition
in Italy by artist Kaari Upson. The artist’s universe is an archive of human inner feelings animated by
unfathomable entities, shadows and ghosts. Action and reaction seem to overlap in the kaleidoscopic and yet
obscure world of Kaari Upson. With a stream of consciousness that continuously blurs reality and fantasy,
public and private, the Self and the Other, the Californian artist investigates the mysteries of the human
Sleep With the Key is an open window to Kaari Upson’s interior world, which unclenches the memory of passed
happy moments, jealously locked into the artist’s heart.
The series of brand new works in Sleep With the Key summarize the last years of the artist’s research and build a
carnal universe in negative: Kaari Upson’s exhibition is a project about absence, separation, and loss. Sleep With
the Key is a show about the body, where the body never appears.
Sleep With the Key starts with a monumental group of unique silicon mattresses. The molds for the mattresses
are found by the artist in the streets of Los Angeles. King size, Queen size, Single and Crib size mattresses appear
through multiple layers of transparent or colored liquid silicone, with a production process that escapes the
artist’s absolute control. The objects’ surfaces are enriched by unexpected shadows. Going from a liquid to a
solid state, the silicone catches Kaari Upson’s thoughts and returns fleshy and sensual color fields, thus
producing a perfect synthesis between Reason and Unconscious.
On the second floor Kaari Upson presents a series of rugs, also made in silicone, and some compositions of aloe
plants’ casts; specular and undefined compositions, abstract decorations and colour dripping get, nestled into
the fibres of these seductive surfaces that, while crystallizing a moment in time, continue to underline the
absence of the human being. Up one of the walls, a window opens onto an ideal landscape, a meditative space in
which to project one’s self.
Kaari Upson’s works look apparently familiar to us. They appear as everyday objects yet nevertheless they give
us a sense of turmoil, instability and perversion. Hidden deeply into the human spirit, our most unmentionable
dreams emerge from the translucent surfaces and the mysterious physicality of Upson’s works. “The uncanny is
something that can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably
strange or uncomfortably familiar.” (The Uncanny, Sigmund Freud, 1919).