David Czupryn

Both at Once, 2016

Oil on Canvas

250 × 180 cm

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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?

the artist

Born in 1983 in Germany, David Czupryn graduated from the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie in 2015 (2007 – 2015) and has been working closely with ARTUNER since then. In 2016, he was the recipient of the 70th International Bergische Art Prize with a solo show at the Kunstmuseum Solingen in October 2017. In the same year, he was part of two shows featuring new works at the collection Uziyel in London and Palazzo Capris in Turin, both curated by ARTUNER. In 2018 his first major solo institutional show, He She It opened at Kunsthalle Darmstadt. He lives and works in Düsseldorf. In his surrealist paintings David Czupryn creates fantastic worlds, inhabited by humanoid hybrids and built with materials found at the intersection between nature, man-made polymers and imagination. His practice is mostly informed by a research of the uncanny, conducted from a mostly ‘visceral’ perspective. Indeed, although interested in psychoanalytical theories, Czupryn does not explore them in his works. His technique is seamless: the ‘layer method’ employed by Czupryn is very meticulous and the brushstrokes result invisible. Indeed, the surface of the painting is very flat, while also conveying a sense of deepness and richness of the materials depicted. The synthesis of nature and industrially engineered materials is a very important aspect of the artist’s work. David Czupryn started his artistic career as a sculptor, with Prof Georg Herold and later decided to focus solely on painting in the classes of Professors Lucy McKenzie and Tomma Abts: he stopped sculpting altogether and put all his artworks in a storage. For months, all day long, he would practice on painting techniques, trompe l’oeil in particular, as taught by McKenzie. There has been a turning point in his subject matter in 2012, when he saw a late Gothic grisaille painting of a sculpture. Then, he took his earlier sculptures out of storage and started portraying them in painting. Surrealism and Metaphysical art (Salvador Dalì and Giorgio de Chirico in particular) are undoubtedly the first points of reference that come to mind when looking at David Czupryn's paintings. However, the artist’s most important sources of inspiration are the works of the photographer Diane Arbus and American artist Matthew Barney.

In his surrealist paintings David Czupryn creates fantastic worlds, inhabited by humanoid hybrids and built with materials found at the intersection between nature, man-made polymers and imagination.

David Czupryn
on Artuner

Part of the

October 30th, 2018 until
January 6th, 2019
Curated by Leon Krempel