Both at Once, 2016
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David Czupryn’s compositions are like enchanting enigmas. Cloaked in ambiguity and wonder, Czupryn’s hybrids always seem to pose puzzling riddles to the viewer. At first, one might think they’re looking at an abstract work of art. However, this impression soon proves inaccurate, and the bizarre characters populating these paintings clearly start to manifest themselves.
The figure slowly emerging from the tiled background is reminiscent of the mythical Janus head – a Roman deity possessing two faces, often suggesting deceit, but also that, by nature, humans are mostly de-centred and unknown even to themselves. ‘Both at Once’ shows the character performing two actions at the same time – the side facing the wall is urinating, while the head turned to the audience is vomiting: a common epilogue to drunken delirious nights. With playfulness and irony, Czupryn only hints at this topic, and makes his unbalanced protagonist throw up a Calder sculpture.
The artist often likes to play with the viewer’s expectation of perspective and setting. As Janus heads used to guard doorways, delimiting the passageway between domestic and outside world, it is ambiguous whether ‘Both at Once’ is set inside or outdoors. The tiled walls might suggest an interior, while the green floor, the rock with its stylised trees, and the suspended bridge above, seem to indicate the scene is taking place in a beautiful landscape. And finally, that view out the window: is it a sky from an astronaut’s perspective, or is it an ocean?