About The Work
Diana Shpungin’s working method encompasses drawing, sculpture and hand drawn video animation under an acutely conceptual framework. Examining themes of memory, myth, failure, longing, mortality, loss and apprenticeship, Shpungin’s artwork employs a painstaking and obsessive process while seeking empathy across identity lines.
Concerned with beauty as a sublime idea rather than as a straightforward formal element, the sentimental both seduces and repels. However, that duality has become a necessary element in the work, always looking for a balance between form and content, superstition and logic, science and the sentimental and the poetic and the rational. Thematically, the work emphasizes the value and universal appeal of the personal and hand-made in a time where the impersonal and machine-made is so prevalent.
The use of graphite pencil as an elemental tool, both permanent and denoting erasure, is the foundation to Shpungin’s practice. While an obsessive language of materials and techniques has been developed based on her late surgeon fathers frugal methods both in medicine and in domestic life. By translating these both foreign and familiar actions into artistic practice a form of skewed apprenticeship lives on. The materials used are often a combination of both archival and non, –striking a balance between partial preservation and deterioration.
Drawing behaves as an obsessive and repetitive act, probing memory and reclaiming the familiar and non. The sculptural works too function as drawings, but in three dimensional space, meticulously coating objects with graphite pencil as if they removed themselves from the two dimensional plane and into our bodily space providing an ever greater intimacy and physicality with the object itself. Many of the drawings are further used to create animation works, “purposely failed animations”, or “moving stills”, –never successfully animating the inanimate subject sourced from the motionless world of photography or the even more metaphorically static realm of memory.
All these methods maintain a peculiar sense of longing, –the subject matter may directly address this, a formal sensibility of tension may be employed or longing can be implied by way of a self-imposed conceptual failure, –often having a purposeful yet ambiguous sense of incompletion.