Executed in 2013, R.R. belongs to Kaari Upson’s definitive series of silicone mattresses. Cast from discarded bedding found on the streets of Los Angeles, these works embody the Californian artist’s fascination with the physical traces of human existence. Evolving from her landmark series The Larry Project, based on possessions salvaged from the ruins of a house belonging to her parents’ neighbour, the mattresses were inspired by Upson’s own experiences of being bedridden with illness. ‘I am very interested in their stitching and fabrics that are made to camouflage the bodily fluids of years of living’, she explains. ‘… They are co-opted abject things that I can now map over with painting’s history. They are a conflation of representation, abstraction, abjection and the status quo of painting because they are casts of a real thing, down to every stitch’. Upson relishes in the contingency of her chosen sculptural medium, describing how ‘The second you start one of these silicone works they have to be finished in the same span. Nothing can be stopped. They evade any kind of natural handling. But I like that they exist as durable burdens, in a way’ (K. Upson in conversation with D. Fogle, Flash Art, Vol. 294, January-February 2014).