David Czupryn

rotten_ronny, 2015

oil on canvas

170 × 120 cm

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David Czupryn’s ‘Surrealist’ paintings invitingly usher the viewer into a fantastic dimension. One populated with chimerical characters that appear to have emerged from a child’s imagination and stagger across often hyperrealist, and yet disorienting scenarios. ‘rotten_ronny’, for instance, depicts an anthropomorphic figure which seemingly points out of the picture frame, as if it is aiming to go in that direction. However, it is only provided with one ‘leg’ since the other, like in a nightmare, is disappearing, inhibiting its gait. The creature is thus frozen under the beholder’s gaze; unable to leave the canvas, it has no choice but to offer itself up for examination.

Czupryn paints his oneiric scenarios with an impressive amount of detail, creating a sharp contrast with the surreal appearance of the subject matter. The artist’s interest in mineral and vegetable formations is apparent, as most paintings feature marble or wooden surfaces and other forms of plant life. Upon closer inspection, those seemingly familiar materials and objects, reveal themselves as uncomfortably different. The marble surfaces for instance, depicted in painstaking detail, do not represent the stone as nature intended. Such discrepancy is not a mistake: while Czupryn closely studies nature, he takes it as a point of departure to imagine new materials, new forms of life which evoke in the viewer a sense of the uncanny.

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