Tomáš Džadoň, a neo-conceptualist artist, became known for his reinterpretations of architecture. These are “construction projects” which relativise habituated views of socialist housing developments. For someone born in 1981 socialist modernism is already history. Džadoň was himself born in a high-rise apartment block and for him this architecture has a strong tradition. He works in depth with the local regional contexts of his native Slovakia. He often combines elements of high-rise apartment block architecture with the folk tradition of Slovak log cabins. The first of many apartment block projects is the installation Can´t Undo from 2008.
The artist installed a mock-up of an apartment block in water, which acts as a kind of cathartic spa. Contemporary architecture is contrasted with the adjacent baroque chateau. In the object Is it an Attraction or is it Tumbling Down (2009) the apartment block is inclined like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The artist asks the viewer whether he or she accepts what exists or rejects recent tradition, in which case the apartment blocks will be demolished. In the project Block? (2009) Džadoň deconstructs the apartment block walls. The same is true in the installation I’ve Lost the Instructions… (2009). In this work a high-rise apartment is dismantled into the 17 concrete panels from which it was built. The aesthetic building set has real dimensions, including the details of windows and balcony. The installation entitled The Ždiar Housing Estate (2008) is a exact model of the eponymous estate. Models of apartment blocks are plastered with wallpaper with the wooden construction of folk architecture. There is a conflict here between two traditions: rustic log cabins and apartment blocks. The same contrast between two cultures is involved in the visualised project Memorial to Rustic Architecture (2007): at the top of the apartment block we discover log cabins, for which the apartment block acts as a pedestal. This is an encounter of the absurd, a kind of collage, which brings together the social way of life and the domestic rustic tradition. In the visualisation Traditional Caravan (2006) Džadoň also uses elements of rustic architecture, this time in the form of a log cabin in the shape of a caravan. In this mobile museum the artist is indicating that the link to place is these days negated: man is a nomad within global society.
The object Hyperlink (2006) is characterised by nostalgia for long lost times. Some “bacon from my granny” is being fried in a white box and the evocative aroma escapes through a hole in the upper part into the surroundings. A different kind of nostalgia is represented by the object Carpenter’s Joints (2006), in which the artist plays with the aesthetic of socialist cupboards (the object comprises two cupboards joined with a flat decoration). “Portals” comprise a special section. In the Jelení Gallery the artist created an installation of widow frames in such a way that he duplicated and increased in size the existing window frames into the gallery space until a kind of “gothic” receding portal was created (No Man’s Land, 2009). Portal (2009) is an intervention in the public space of a town. The entrance from one of the artist’s favourite pieces of high-rise architecture is grafted onto a historical building. Tomáš Džadoň believes that both an experience of the present and memories are important. In his work he overcomes his own feelings of deracination. His architectural objects make reference to the historical political changes of post-communist Central Europe and ask questions to do with the search for one’s own identity in relation to tradition, be this in relation to the long-gone or recent past.
Illusion of space / attempt at a new reading / exhibition catalouge, text by Barbora Geržová, 2008
VENTILO no.230, Entre deux portes, text by M. Nanquette- Querette (in French)
ARCHITEKT 04/08 Tomáš Džadoň, text by Jiří Ševčík
PROJEKT 03/08: "I believe in emotional construction", text by Šárka Dumbrovská
Essl Award 2007, exhibition catalouge
Art&Antique, 12/07, Tomáš Džadoň, text: Katka Tučková
No man`s land, interview for Czech radio by Karel Oujezdský , 02.04.2009 (in slovak)
Profil in "hore bez" in sme.sk 17. 1. 2009 (in slovak)