David Czupryn

Well Triggered Lifeforms, 2017

Oil on Canvas

180 × 130 cm

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Czupryn’s Well Triggered Lifeforms arranges modern and contemporary works by other artists into a playful, yet thoroughly meticulous still-life. These art historical allusions—or explicit ‘appropriations’, as Czupryn puts it—generally refer to the Surrealist oeuvre, in its many incarnations. For instance, the satellite dish (centre right) reflects a distinctly Magrittian sky, and the abstract shape (bottom right) is a graphic illustration of Sarah Lucas’ Souffle (2007), a sculpture featuring two footballs (wrapped in cigarettes) supported by a bra, and resting on concrete shoes. The humanoid form in the centre of Czupryn’s painting depicts another sculpture: Hans Bellmer’s Machine-Gunneress in a State of Grace (1937), which appears again in Czupryn’s painting, Bodycult. But this odd little figure with protruding legs, and the use of a ‘recurrent motif’ more generally, also recall yet another artist: Duchamp, who included a two-pronged tuning fork in various ‘Bride’ paintings. Perhaps Duchamp (who eventually abandoned his art for a career in professional chess) lingers, too, in Czupryn’s black-and-white backdrop.

Naturally, such references pay service to Czupryn’s surrealist ancestors. But Well Triggered Lifeforms also stakes an emphatic claim for Czupryn’s own place within the Surrealist canon. The technique is seamless: layers of thin and evenly applied paint create subtlety, flatness and ultranaturalism. In all these things, Czupryn’s painting resembles Magritte’s and Ernst’s figurative works which eradicate all signs of brushwork. The result, in the case of Well Triggered Lifeforms, is that the viewer sees straight through Czupryn’s fine artistry, seeming to gaze directly upon the fantastical world depicted. And while Czupryn specifies that this parallel universe is not a Dalian space in which psychoanalytic theories are directly translated into imagery, its dreamlike quality remains rooted in surrealist tradition.

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 1st, 2017 until
December 16th, 2017
Curated by ARTUNER