David Czupryn

lost_whukash, 2015

oil on canvas

165 × 130 cm

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David Czupryn’s paintings are immediately reminiscent of Surrealist and Metaphysical art. The characters that he creates, composed of different mimetically painted materials and organic parts, are the product of dream-like fantasies. Mimesis and the uncanny are two concepts central to the artist’s practice.

The figures populating Czupryn’s paintings are both familiar and extravagant: as if they were recognisable, but un-placeable. Do they come from a dream? Are they referencing other artworks? Or is it because of the hyperrealist materials, wood, marble and plastics, that at first look comfortably familiar to the viewer. Upon closer inspection, however, even such surfaces keep their distance. The wooden panels in ‘lost_whukash’ are distorted, the age marks and patterns of the walls are strangely awkward. The wood depicted in this painting is not the one we are used to.

There is an interesting tension between the hyperrealist amount of detail that Czupryn employs in his paintings, which convincingly persuades the viewer’s eye of the verisimilitude of what they are looking at, and the actual non-existence of the creations. The rupture between reality and depiction is not the result of a mistake. On the contrary, David Czupryn is extremely meticulous in his study of nature; he is interested in the appearance of rocks and plants, bones and barks. It is such expertise that allows him to ‘create’ strikingly life-like materials, that are actually the product of his imagination, but subtly play with the audience’s perception.

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

December 15th, 2015 until
February 16th, 2016
Curated by Eugenio Re Rebaudengo