David Czupryn

mellow_pupil, 2015

oil on canvas

165 × 120 cm

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David Czupryn’s paintings portray Surrealist dreamscapes that are uncannily rooted in reality. The stylistic hyperrealism vividly contrasts with the chimerical subject matter: the spectator’s eye hesitates in front of such creations. The fine detail to which they are painted would suggest their existence in actuality. However, even the wooden and marble surfaces, which should look recognisable to most, conserve an eerie feeling. Indeed, while Czupryn is very meticulous in his study of nature and man-made materials, he does not merely depict them as they are. On the contrary, the German painter conflates these two spheres of everyday life – the artificial and the natural – to create hybrid microcosms, inhabited by anthropomorphic characters, performing unknown, and yet familiar gestures.

‘mellow_pupil’, for instance, features a humanoid character, hovering in the centre of a green room. It might seem like it is ironing, an act that would set it within a domestic environment. Or rather, it might be auscultating an invisible patient. Neither interpretation, though, is confirmed: there is no laundry in sight, nor any hospital signifier. The figure’s performance remains suspended in mystery, it is not given to know more for sure, but the viewer retains the sense of witnessing something that is strangely familiar. Indeed, the exploration of the uncanny – described by Sigmund Freud as something “terrifying which leads back to something long known to us” – is central to David Czupryn’s practice.

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