David Czupryn

Tricky Disposition, 2016

Oil on Canvas

280 × 240 cm

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Anthropomorphically architectural and overtly bizarre, the colourful compositions of David Czupryn reconfigure elements of the natural world—vegetable, animal, and mineral—to highlight the uncanny. In his painting ‘Tricky Disposition’, Czupryn has transformed a photographic study of a young girl to make a portrait that resembles inlaid wood.

Dark boards of wood sweep towards the middle and give way to a waterfall of orange hair, the grains of which run perpendicular to the background in a slightly curved fashion. A yellow face peers out from the centre. Upon it, tree rings swirl concentrically and two glowing green eyes stare out at the viewer. On either side of this face sits a still life meant to detract from the face’s symmetry. Painted with hyperrealist detail, this painting demonstrates Czupryn’s methodology of merging the natural with the fantastic. Indeed, as can be seen in this composition, Czupryn’s style is characterised by his unification and manipulation of nature and artificial materials as inspiration for his outlandish fictive landscapes.

Painted from a Phantombild — a facial composite made by police from witness testimonials —  the painting is meant to be half real and half imagined: an otherworldly portrait made from an uncanny source. Indeed, here, the portrait is both architecture and human, natural and imagined, both real and fictional. In it, one cannot immediately discern a face. Rather, it appears as a fabulous amalgam of mimetic wooden textures; an abstract dreamscape inhabited by forms that seem, at once, both foreign and familiar.

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

October 17th, 2016 until
November 5th, 2016
Curated by ARTUNER