David Czupryn

Primary Clock, 2016

Oil on Canvas

190 × 140 cm

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The uncanny is defined with words like mysterious, strange and unsettling, and it is within these adjectives that the artist David Czupryn finds his verve. Of his practice, Czupryn often speaks of creating a certain ‘flatness’ within the cosmos of his paintings, to focus the ‘deepness’ of opaque materials from nature into paint, giving his art a peculiar kind of colourfulness.

In ‘Primary Clock’ Czupryn is interested in the tradition of still life painting, and whilst the artist’s own production suggests the abstract, his work is deeply rooted in realist codes commonly associated with the verisimilitudes of still life practices.

‘Primary Clock’ however might also be read next to the Flemish tradition of ‘vanitas’ – a noun from the Latin vāïtas that means ‘emptiness’. In dialogue with these symbolic artworks, the elongated yellow shape in the painting is the skull of a foetus, whilst the order of the miscellaneous objects in the painting take the shape of a letter ‘U’, evoking the Latin expression, memento mori; or, remember you will die.

The atomic clock of the painting’s title keeps the time, but, in characteristic playfulness, the materials of all the objects in the painting, particularly the marble stone and wooden background, glint with the veneer of plastics. Indeed, there is something uncanny about the Czupryn’s plastic-like painting, directed at the vanity and mortality of man and the world he makes.

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