David Czupryn

Hedonize My Ass, 2018

Oil on Canvas

300 × 440 cm


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Artwork
Description

Hedonize my Ass is a crowd scene in the tradition of the great battle paintings of Paolo Uccello. The viewer is presented with an enclosed picture space with gyrating figures in the foreground. Looking on directly at the scene from eye-level, the viewer becomes present in the painting as a dispassionate observer.

Hedonize shares these formal elements with another of Czupryn’s paintings Baton Blows, and indeed the artists conceived the two as a dynamic pair. Both images display the same interest in what the artist calls ‘decomposing’ the body. The viewer is able to see through the complicated tangle of forms with ease, aided by their transparency and distortion. Each one is rendered in the delicate trompe l’oeil fashion typical of Czupryn’s work, but here they form a more complex and more varied parade than in previous paintings.

Rather than being complementary, however, Baton Blows and Hedonize are perhaps better seen as reactions against each other. The violence of the former is replaced by the absolute hedonism of the latter; the body not distorted out of rage or injury but psychedelia. As opposed to the emaciated parody of muscular fascism, these are queered bodies, enjoying themselves in this painted Berghain.

The scene is awash with debauchery: the dancing, the drugs, the sexual poses. A triangle-faced figure with an ugly scowl proffers a large blue pill to a woman sprawled on the bar, his other hand caught in some other seedy exchange. A man and woman, their angular bodies resembling clothes’ dryers, are locked in a taught embrace, their interlocking forms seeming to both pull apart and move together.

This is a brightly coloured crowd no doubt, but beneath this veneer a deeply unhappy scene reveals itself. More than one face is locked in the grimace of a bad trip: a checkerboard-bodied figure, tongue laden with pills and staring eyes, howls in terror. Whilst this scene appears shuttered off from the world in its own nightmarish existence one can surmise that the hell of Baton Blows has infected even here. Perhaps the dancers are wilfully ignorant, but one has the sense that their hedonism and fear are both reactions to the world of fascist violence outside. In this context, the title becomes a provocative statement of rebellion.

About
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
exhibition

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