David Czupryn

Club Full of Poison (Poisonclub), 2016

Oil on Canvas

190 × 130 cm

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David Czupryn has described Poison Club as a still life. One can see it as greatly connected to his early work as a sculptor and the origin of his painting practice in representing the objects he made. Here, alongside the products of his own imagination, he reinvents works by other artists: transforming an Isa Genzken transmitter and a Paul Noble drawing into trompe l’oeil marble.

Czupryn demonstrates his usual expertise in painting surfaces. His meticulous depiction of the various textures of wood, stone, and foliage are combined with objects whose materials are undefinable. Everything takes on a hyper-realistic sheen comparable to a digital illustration, so eerily precise are Czupryn’s invisible brushstrokes. Poison Club is a display of the artist’s virtuosity in the tradition of Dutch Golden Age flower paintings.

In seventeenth century Dutch art this verisimilitude was tied to the ambivalence that surrounded images. On the one hand, images were revered as a source of knowledge in the culture of scientific observation. However, they were simultaneously deceitful, a distrust born out of the Protestant critique of images: Dutch still lives sought to draw attention to the fact that everything the viewer saw was only the surface appearance rather than divine essence of any object. Czupryn’s pristine surfaces also display the trickiness of images: however, his is a more postmodern predicament.

The bouquet takes on the quality of a hallucination, growing out of terrifying depths with rapid speed. Czupryn’s cautionary tale is not against Catholic superstition or mercantile wealth, but against a bad trip. The painting was inspired by a Düsseldorf club notorious for its drug-addled nights. Taking hold of this dark quality, Czupryn has crafted a rich and complex image: part critique and part taboo desire.

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