Kaja Upelj’s practice gives presence of something alive, organic, and sensual, and is challenging an individual’s interaction, and prompts a deep questioning of perception itself. Exploiting innate characteristics of materials and capturing the essence of the body; both as a form and as a medium, the works elicit physical and sensorial responses. Through the manipulation of primary materials such as glass, metal, and marble, Upelj emulates subtle nuances of bodily gestures, whose physicality she integrates into her work, though in a more abstract and less figurative sense. These sculptures possess a delicate and fragile beauty of intimacy, tenderness, and tension that define our relationship with ourselves and others. Despite being crafted from cold and sturdy materials, they evoke a sense of warmth and softness that makes one doubt their original composition. The iridescent dichroic color found in her work symbolizes the viewer’s unstable perceptions. Our perception is not a fixed construct but rather a fluid accumulation shaped by childhood experiences, daily encounters, and interactions with others.
Through her work, Upelj delves into anthropology and psychology to determine the complex tapestry of human connections. She draws intensively from her own body and imprints left of social interactions, implicit knowledge, and the environment she belongs to. Flowers accompanying her works indicate rituals evoking the transformative nature of our personal journeys, mirrors are used as a means of acceptance and reflections on self, and her sensual glass objects eloquently portray human beings so beautifully; strong in appearance, fragile in reality.