Anthropomorphism is a central feature of David Czupryn’s paintings. Distorted and fantastical, the characters the artist paints collapse the boundaries between what is natural and what is manufactured. The hyperreal character at the centre of David Czupryn’s ‘Soul Full of Poison’ was inspired by a figure the artist saw in Berghain, Berlin’s world-famous techno club. Contorted and insect-like, the technicolour smile of the dream-like figure is as synthetic as the polymers of the bright clothes it wears.
The painting’s title emphasises the intense focus on artificiality in Czupryn’s work. Like the dancers in Berghain whose bodies are controlled by drugs, the emotions of this humanoid figure are manufactured by a similar ‘poison’. The lifted ‘leg’ suggests a mechanical, repetitive dance, like that seen in clubs, but also reminiscent of an automaton. In much of Czupryn’s work, the natural is reconfigured to appear synthesised with manufactured materials. Here, this is apparent in the lightbulbs behind the central figure: while their sickly green-yellow glow is clearly evocative of club lighting, they also double as plants growing out of the walls.
The lack of any direct lighting makes the background look flatter, forcing the figure into the foreground, closer to the viewer. Yet the seamless way in which Czupryn has executed the brushstrokes lend the black woodwork a deepness that evokes the enigmatic darkness of a nightclub. The hybrid nature of the dreamscape, with its ambiguous figure and materials, makes for an uncanny viewing experience that is typical of Czupryn’s work.