David Czupryn’s oeuvre is a fantastical collection of paintings that depict anthropomorphic characters in a world that is both whimsical and confusing, but engaging to look at. The works have a life-like quality to them that animates with increasing intensity upon further viewing. Czupryn tends to work in the field of the uncanny (in German, the unheimlich), creating images that convey an intrinsic sense of unsettlement and mystery.
Pseudo Doppelgänger is the companion piece to 2016’s Pseudo Twins. Both depict a central figure with a bull’s head with devilish wooden characters on either side. A white devil, so to speak, made of white wood and marble sits in direct contrast with a black one. In Pseudo Doppelgänger the white figure is elevated on the left side, the positions and tonal contrasts making left and right opposites of each other, whilst in Pseudo Twins this relationship is reversed. Each painting then does a double-mirroring: split not only down its centre line but also in relation to its companion. When paired together Pseudo Doppelgänger and Pseudo Twins complete and mirror each other. The emphasis on the white and black figures is switched, with the light focus on the white character and the elevated position of the black. These two units form an asymmetrical reflectional symmetry with differences in lighting and tone. Like that optical illusion of the vase and the faces, the two vibrate between independent entities and a seamless whole as their similarities and differences shift in and out of focus.
Viewing these works gives rise to the sensation of dejà vu: they are at once one cohesive unit and separate parts, both the same and different. Looking from one to the next one has the feeling of partaking in a mischievous game of spot-the-difference designed by the artist to drive his audience mad. Each piece becomes both familiar and strange in this process: as soon as one work is recognised, the other appears to disrupt any secure ground one might have won.