David Czupryn

Lil grl lost the rope, 2016

oil on canvas

220 × 140 cm

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Surreal anthropomorphism and the elision of the boundaries between the natural and the fantastic are prominent themes in David Czupryn’s works. In his painting ‘Lil grl lost the rope’, a stick-like figure with a bold grimace stands forlorn; an older, sadder version of Picasso’s sculpture ‘Little girl jumping rope’.

The girl’s limbs appear to be made from wood; her spindly limbs stand out from the swirling black background and acidic pink floor, while her pink and blue ‘hair’ is clearly synthetic. This is characteristic of Czupryn’s preoccupation with unifying man-made materials with more naturalistic ones; the wood contrasts with the artificially blue ‘thong’ around the figure’s legs, while the straightness of the hair jars with the fungal swirls of the black shapes in the wall.

Though the girl appears desolate, which is emphasised by the title of the piece, a glimmer of hope emerges through the symbolism of the crossed green and yellow hands in the top-left corner. Together, the hands form the shape of a dove; a nod to the optimism and joy of youth. Czupryn’s oneiric scenes might seem nightmarish and uncanny, but recognisable references to a more stable image of childhood ground the painting in reality too.

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