"Jänner" by David Czupryn and Katharina Beilstein.
Villa Massimo in Rome
March - April 2022
Curated by Christian Oxenius.
Art: David Czupryn, Katharina Beilstein
Photography: Ludovica Colacino
with the German Academy at the Villa Massimo in Rome. Alongside the sculptures of Katharina Beilstein, David Czupryn exhibits artworks on canvas as well as on paper, presenting an enticing combination of still life paintings and portraits of his humanoid creatures.
David created the artworks during his ongoing residency at the Villa Massimo. The artworks' narrative explores slices of life in Rome and Italy, relying on symbolism and metaphors to address day-to-day circumstances. While still using pivotal figures from his oeuvre — the Tödlein in Terra dei Fuochi — David depicts Roman deities — the god "Janus" appearing in the artwork Jenner — as well as ordinary people, as seen in the painting Lo Spazzino.
Jänner is an exhibition curated by Christian Oxenius.
Janus, the two-faced god who stands as a reminder that every end marks a new beginning, that every threshold we pass is both a closure and a moment to reinvent ourselves, and whose figure acts as a reminder that as humans we are constantly confronted with our own duality, feels like a necessary central figure of David Czupryn’s new series of paintings and drawings. One of the few gods to be purely roman, not having been borrowed from Greek mythology, Janus, in this exhibition as much as in roman theogony, is crucial and yet evanescent in his manifestation. He is present as one of Czupryn’s hybrid figures immersed in a fictional landscape clearly influenced by materials and symbolic elements familiar to anyone who ever walked the streets and gardens of Rome. But even more so, he is present as an attitude reminding the viewer that it is entirely our choice whether to venture or not past the paintings’ first impression of masterfully executed scenes. If we accept this, we soon find ourselves in a world in which colours, symbols and references lead us to finely crafted social and political commentaries on the world surrounding us. Are we able to see through the eyes of a street vendor? Through those of a street-sweeper? Would we still accept the harsh contrast of glossy marbles? the luxury of acanthus leaved columns? or would we react to the inequalities these images bring to life?
It feels these are exactly the kind of questions Czupryn is asking of us, to accept beauty to confront prejudice and build open narratives which give us the choice of moving (or not) beyond the threshold of our comfortable homes. But Janus stands also as the deity beholder of duality, interplay, and transitions. In this context, the choice of juxtaposing Czupryn’s figures to Katharina Beilstein’s objects conceived at the edge between crafts and art, between jewellery and sculptures allows for intriguing further thoughts to emerge and expands the already convincing reflection on these subjects.