David Czupryn

Ghost Hardware, 2018

Oil on Canvas

190 × 180 cm

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David Czupryn’s humanoid figures, at the intersection between natural material, man-made pieces and vivid imagination, seem to become lively protagonists of the scenes they inhabit. The German artist is able to convey on the canvas a sense of deepness and richness of the materials depicted, reproducing landscapes and figures which recall dreamy environments and fantastical tales.

A humanoid figure, a woody skeleton composed of prisms and other polygonal shapes, poses theatrically in a dark and small room; the skeleton leans with a hand on an open window, holding with the other a wooden chair, whose shape recalls a human backbone.

The flatness of the canvas is manipulated; it is turned into a shallow stage. In the backdrop of this oniric scene, an enlarged photograph of a man’s face leers out at the viewer, realised using Ben Day dots (a technique for cheap printing, made famous in art history by Roy Lichtenstein). However, this haunting face in the background and the presence of the humanoid figure also cite the 1963 painting Portrait of My Dead Brother by Salvador Dalì and André Masson’s drawings. As the little humanoid figures in the original painting, the skeleton can be read as mourning a dead relative, showing its grief to the dearly departed, but perhaps also to the celebrated painters, recalling their work in this sad occasion.

As usual in Czupryn’s paintings, the biography and imagination of the artist merge with remarkable oeuvres from the history of art. The artist’s background as sculptor-carpenter, his vivid imagination, and his fascination for Surrealism and Metaphysical art produce  intriguing paintings where meticulously staged details lead the viewer into dreams, and occasionally, nightmares.

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 1st, 2018 until
January 6th, 2019
Curated by ARTUNER