Kaari Upson

from The Larry Project
Mirrored Staircase Inversion (San Bernadino)
installation view, 2011
Image courtesy of the artist

KAARI UPSON‘s The Larry Project, is a multi-disciplinary investigation into the life of a man she has never met. It all started in 2003, when UPSON returned to her childhood neighborhood in San Bernardino, California, to check on her parents’ house as wildfires were raging through the area. She ended up going into the semi-abandoned McMansion across the street. Inside she photographed nearly every corner of the house and discovered a number of boxes of personal items left behind by the owner, LARRY (his name is not LARRY but for legal reasons, she’s not allowed to reveal his true identity, nor his previous addresses, his current whereabouts , his age, nor any of the other intimate biographical details).

These documents became the backbone of a project where identities were created, swapped, interfused, and finally exorcised: When I was trying to kind of hijack his life and put it together, I was researching how you could assess who somebody is. LARRY has become more fiction than fact, and UPSON’s relentless investigation of the minutia of his life offers extraordinary insight into the mind of the artist herself.

For the final stage of her Larry project (see above), she returned to the site of LARRY’s former home and dug into the ground replicas of the twin staircases that had once led from the entrance hall to his bedroom. She then poured in gallons of pink latex, and dragged the resultant skin back to her studio, where it now rests, sagging on wooden armatures, awaiting an uncertain future.

KAARI UPSON earned her BFA (2004) and MFA (2007) from California Institute of Arts, in Valencia, CA. She lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.



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  1. […] UPSON, whose work I’ve mentioned before, is now featuring the installation Sleep with the Key at the milanese gallery MASSIMO DE CARLO. […]