Alternative Lifeforms is emblematic of David Czupryn’s beginnings as a sculptor. However, in this painting the figures are assembled not from elements of his own works, but those of other artists. This is a provocative move in Czupryn’s style, which with its near invisible brush strokes makes the image appear to have been cast as one integral whole, eliding his own painterly expression whilst cannibalising the minds of others. In this way, the products of human creativity seem to take on a life of their own, frenetic and exuberant.
Czupryn’s humanoid figures therefore also seek to question the limits of human intelligence and toy with the shortcomings of our biological existence. The question of survival is implied by the presence of these four lone caryatids, which the artist imagines as the sole survivors of the bombing of a Düsseldorf museum in. Czupryn’s muses are recreations of artworks by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Lygia Clark and Georg Herold, titans of the history of modern art. Their exact meanings are unclear: are they hieroglyphs with coded meanings, symbolic quotations, homages paid by Czupryn, or simply formal devices?
In this context, the title is a vital clue. ‘Alternative’ stands not only for the possible future that Czupryn imagines, but the fact that these objects contain a parallel energy to that of the original sculptors and sculptures. As products in which their creators live on, these anthropomorphic figures embody character and agency and continue the practices of art, architecture, writing and music. They can be understood as the survival of human intelligence, beyond our somatic existence, whilst human remains and signs of civilisation litter the floor. The question of whether it is possible to program culture and creativity is posed (quite literally in the proscenium structure of the picture).