KAARI UPSON exhibition titled “Never Enough” at the DESTE Foundation in Athens is one to remember – our team had a chance to visit it last week:

O. Snag, 2019 ©KAARI UPSON/DESTE Foundation

On our recent trip to Athens we were lucky enough to see the work of Artist KAARI UPSON  on display at The DESTE Foundation under the title Never Enough. The exhibition of the late artist’s work was curated by the artist’s close friend and the founder of the DESTE Foundation Dakis Joannou. “I first met Kaari Upson in 2015. I had heard about her work from Massimiliano Giani and Maurizio Cattelan. When I was in Los Angeles, curator Ali Subotnick brought me to Kaari’s studio. She and i got along very well and developed a friendship and I began to collect her work,” shares Joannou in the exhibition notes.

Never Enough pays tribute to Kaari’s body of work as curated by Dakis Joannou who was also the artist’s close friend. Joannou put on display a memorable selection of 30 pieces encapsulating her complete career from the It’s Never Enough photograph captured in 2007 to her final works as well as an untitled painting on canvas completed in 2021.


Left: cast mattress sculpture 226, 2013. Right: Two Hers, 2017 ©KAARI UPSON/DESTE Foundation                        
Clay Baby, 2020 Ceramic, fierwork ©KAARI UPSON/DESTE Foundation

The curation by Dakis Joannou brings us closer to the world of Kaair Upson and the impressive vision brought within her impressive 15 year artist career. The work on display at the DESTE Foundation puts on display her sculpture, painting, drawing and video work. For the design of the DESTE show space to display Kaari’s work Dakis Joannou worked with architect Sotirios Kotoulas reshaping the space with the use of colour. Every wall in the gallery is painted in a different colour, thus giving the visitors a vibrant experience and allowing them to connect and understand her work on display in an engaging continuum.


I have always found that having a personal relationship with an artist is the best way to understand the work, and the deep connection I had with Kaari is perhaps one of the best examples of this. Her contribution to the exhibiotn was False Food (Dakis Left, Donkey Right), an incredible piece that remains very special to me. The sculpture is a donkey hoof and a coast of my left foot and is modeled on a type of shoe with reversed treads that was used during WW2 to confuse enemy soldiers,” adds Dakis Joannou in the exhibition notes.

False Foot (Dakis Left, Donkey Right) 2021 ©KAARI UPSON/DESTE Foundation

Never Enough features pieces from some of the most prominent series by Upson, such as “The Larry Project” (2007-2012) with “Kiss” painting diptychs especially standing out. As well as multifaceted series MMDP – My Mother Drinks Pepsi, created by Kaari Upson between 2014 and 2017. The first focuses on Upson’s obsession with domesticity resulting in the series exploring the psyche of an unknown neighbour named by her “Larry“. Upson has acquired a significant amount of his personal items used in artworks telling a projected story about a man she never met. The latter, MMDP was inspired by her own mother who had a habit of drinking a can of Pepsi every day. Upson plays her mother in a series of videos and drawings. Video work also features Upson sitting on packaged Pepsi can’s in the form a of a canned soda throne filmed at a Costco supermarket where her mother shopped regularly.

Kaari Upson
Liquid Antiquity: Conversations 2017 – Installation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Originally shown at Benaki Museum, Athens, 2017 now at DESTE Foundation

I only knew Kaari for a short time, though it often felt as though I had known her for much longer. She told me that she was sick the day we met and when her cancer recurred. When it finally happened, it sadly was all very quick. When they were going through her studio, they found a drawing with a note, saying, “this is for Dakis”, and it was sent to me. Of course I still have that drawing, Clay Baby (Spodomancy), and I feel fortunate to have acquired so many of Kaari’s powerful works, and to have known her both as an artist and as a friend.” adds Joannou.

Cult of Invalidism, 2012 and Untitled (Kiss) 2008 – ©KAARI UPSON/DESTE Foundation

Never Enough also features Upson’s mattress sculpture works, which take her education as a classically trained painter into continuous experimentation with form and materials. Upson has developed a unique method of casting thrown out mattresses, sofas and furniture into head-turning sculptures. For her casting work she uses materials such as latex, fiberglass, urethane and Aqua-Resin. These casts unbelievably capture every detail of these pieces, bringing out even the smallest texture and pattern details found on sofa and mattress upholstery.

View more from the exhibition in DSCENE Gallery:

KAARI UPSON: Never Enough curated by Dakis Joannou is on display till 27th of October at The DESTE Foundation in Athens (Greece), make sure not to miss it if you are in town.

Wednesdays & Thursdays, 12:00 – 20:00
Monday, Tuesday & Friday by appointment between 10:00 – 16:00.
Dates: Closing on 27th of October 2022
Location the DESTE Foundation in Nea Ionia, Athens – for more information log on to


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