David Czupryn

Uplifting Moment, 2016

Oil on Canvas

180 × 130 cm

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David Czupryn’s ‘Uplifting Moment’ is a masterful portrayal of the dream-like world of the uncanny. The eerily anthropomorphic figure hovering in the air is balanced by the still-life firmly rooted to the ground. Both are products of Czupryn’s created dreamscape, in which chimerical beings can exist. Yet, where the figure appears as a frightened creature of an oneiric world, the still life’s firm connection to the earthly plays with the audience’s sense of fantasy and reality.

This ambiguity as to what is real is enhanced by Czupryn’s meticulously executed representation of a wooden background; not only does the recognisable material normalise the landscape, but it also has the effect of making the objects in the foreground appear closer to the viewer, limiting any sense of depth behind them.

Such distinctions between the fantastical and the real are further eroded by Czupryn’s layering technique; his use of invisible brushstrokes ensures the surface of the painting is as flat as possible. On such a smooth canvas, materials like wood, as seen in the structure protectively surrounding the still-life, appear hyperrealistically natural, transforming the familiar into an uncanny simulacrum. Czupryn’s elision of the natural and the synthetic reinforces that pervasive sense of the uncanny. Whether the ‘uplifting moment’ the painting depicts is metaphysical  or eerily supernatural remains an enigma. The reasons behind the figure’s ascendance are deliberately left unknown, static in a landscape that seems both familiar and unreal.

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