1990 - 2010s
Diana Hakobyan is one of those artists for whom the choice of the media has never been an obstacle: she approaches the canvas with the same easiness as she does the object or a video. However, if the paintings and objects have certain representative elements, the video brings a new language, which is often much more personal and has social content.
In 1997 artist did her first experiment with new media. In her first video (Untitled) the artist seems to refuse the advantages of the moving image, combining the static portraits of her friends with a rotating mechanical device. The author uses the new media in a peculiar way: Diana makes minimal use of the features of the camera and editing. She only transfers the image to a new domain and adds a voice to it in order to get the rhythmic feeling of the process.
In later videos the playful element is a central characteristic. These are various games where she performs, often with her daughter. Through her 'social games' she is touching upon such issues like patriarchal society. It is especially obvious in her work What’s going on (2002). It consists of two monitors: on one the artist, Diana herself, is making a hole in the floor with the knife and on the other monitor her daughter is playing with sand in the garden imagining that she is cooking. The roles of mother and daughter are mixed up here: mother who is tired of carrying her role as a mother, and the child who takes the adult’s role. It is the only work by Diana Hakobyan where she doesn’t use any extra effects like music or special editing; it is just documentation of her performance and that of her daughter.
Besides the social content where artist is mostly filming her daughter, there is another series of works, where she is plays alone. In the two videos Been too Long (1 and 2, 2004) while playing a well-known toddler's street game under minimalistic repetitive music she is using gestures of drawing or painting by adding linear traces after each movement she does, so the video becomes closer to animation.
If in her early video works narrative is almost absent, and most of her videos are actually video installations, the recent videos are more engaged with story telling. The artist continues to play, but this time with personal archives and the memories they contain.
Hakobyan has exhibited widely in Europe and Armenia and, along with her late husband, David Kareyan, is considered one of the figureheads of Armenian video-art. In 2004 she was awarded for the best video art at the Golden Apricot International Film Festival, Yerevan, Armenia. In 2012 she was artist in residence at Lenikus Sammlung International and one of her works was included in Lenikus Collection International, Vienna, Austria.
contemporary art, conceptual photography
video art, moving image, photo-media installation
Khachatryan, Eva. Diana Hakobyan, exhibition catalogue, self-published, Yerevan, 2014
2003: The Last East European Show, Museum of contemporary art, Belgrade, Serbia
2003։ Adieu Parajanov: Contemporary Art from Armenia, Kunsthalle Project space, Vienna, Austria
2004։ Solo show, ACCEA, Yerevan
2006։ Videoabend, Stadtpark Gallery, Krems, Austria
2007։ Armenie mon amie”, Modern Art Museum, Lyon, France
2008։ Text & Image, Basement, Vienna, Austria
2009։ Transitland. Video art from Central and Eastern Europe 1989-2009, InterSpace Association, Sofia, Budapest, Berlin
2010։ In the Dark, The Moving Image, Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane, Washington
2011։ Vienna Art Fair, Vienna, Austria
2012։ “Temporary Status”, Roda Sten, Gothenburg, Sweden
2014։ Re-Museum, National Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia
2014։ Solo show, Dalan Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2015: When friendship becomes art, ArtBasis, Yerevan
Lenikus Collection International, Vienna, Austria