David Czupryn

Figure of Speech, 2013

Oil on Canvas

165 × 130 cm

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David Czupryn’s surrealist paintings combine fantasy and hyperrealism in mind-bending ways that toy with the viewer’s perception. A former sculptor, Czupryn’s meticulous depiction of materials (developed through obsessive study) result in his art’s deceptive nature. In Figure of Speech, Czupryn manipulates the senses to transform the illusionary surface of the canvas into that of a three-dimensional wooden relief.

Czupryn’s deft use of trompe l’oeil is deeply disconcerting. His brush lays down surfaces so smooth and precise they deny the gestures from which they are born. One has the sense that his pictures have not so much been painted, or even in this case carved, but are rather cast as a single integral whole. This gives the impression that in Figure of Speech the natural and the man-made have fused: so perfect is Czupryn’s depiction that the material seems more like a plastic imitation of wood, than actual trees.

So far this is the artist’s only monochromatic artwork, notable for its bold restraint. In this, the painting is strikingly different from the works for which it might be considered a prototype, rotten_ronny and lost_whukash (both 2015), which are composed of a much greater variety of mimetically painted materials.

The figure is based on a young woman whom the artist saw waiting for a bus. With one prosthetic leg, and the other cut off at the knee, the woman leans on a wall with the aid of a crutch. Her physical state recalls Samuel Beckett’s Molloy, using the body to hint as he did at psychological abjection.

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