David Czupryn

Caesium in Egg, 2016

Oil on Canvas

190 × 140 cm

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Viewing a painting by David Czupryn is a unique, often unsettling, experience; his work traffics in the uncanny. Indeed, on first look one might think they were viewing an abstract work of art. Yet, Czupryn’s compositions are always grounded in the physical world of objects and things.

In ‘Caesium in Egg’ Czupryn modulates the major preoccupations of the still life tradition contained within the objects the title of the composition bears. The element caesium, for example, suggests a relation to the concept of death inherent to the still life tradition. Indeed, in order to measure time accurately in atomic clocks, the accepted unit is the time caesium takes to reduce by half its original size due to decay, its ‘half-life’. Through this, Czuprn’s re-interprets the Latin expression: memento mori; or, remember you will die.

Not without his characteristic playfulness, ‘Caesium in Egg’ incorporates Czupryn’s remarkable facility to imitate textures like marble, wood, and, most significantly for a painting about natural decay – plastics, synthetic materials notorious for the resistance to bio-degradability.

The egg, meanwhile, which can be seen in crystalline indigo to the right of the composition, offers the potentiality of new life. In Czupryn’s painting however the egg is re-appropriated as an atomic clock – counting down the decay of caesium’s half-life.

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

November 10th, 2016 until
February 11th, 2017
Curated by ARTUNER