It might have also happened to you: wandering through the woods you suddenly noticed an old fridge or a pile of worn out tires lying around in the bushes...
It might have also happened to you: wandering through the woods you suddenly noticed an old fridge or a pile of worn out tires lying around in the bushes. Why do people go through all the trouble of dragging their old junk in the middle of a forest when they could simply take it to the closest junkyard? You also might have been passing through a garden colony when you paused and admired the skills of the local handymen that created all the bizarre architectures made of rotten planks, bended sheets of metal or torn wire mesh and wondered what “treasures” they were hiding. If extra-terrestrials landed in such a forest or a backyard, what kind of an image about the humanity would these artifacts give away?
Cabinets of curiosities, the precursors of modern museums, used to be rooms that had been very popular with aristocrats since the time of the Renaissance. They housed collections of the most peculiar things like precious fossils, works of applied art, scientific instruments, weapons and undoubtedly genuine unicorn horns and bones of giants.
The Cabinet of Banalities is the newest project by the artist Tomáš Klepoch – a passionate collector of trivialities. He finds them on his research trips to the most forgotten corners of Slovakia. In the woods, he spots traces of human civilization in unexpected locations and in the most surprising forms. Back in inhabited areas, he takes a different approach. He examines barns, gardens and backyards from a distance through his telescope as an impartial observer. Although the telescope offers him only a single point of view without any context, it allows him to stay aloof and be able to discover peculiarity in our everyday triviality.
The exhibition at the Nitra Gallery’s Salon occupies three rooms. The first displays a composition of large woodcut prints that capture various objects and situations found mainly in the nature. The second room contains a diorama consisting of six large-scale printing matrices (carved wood panels) presented as standalone artworks. Various nooks and stills of backyards and gardens, canopies and gazebos, birdhouses, piles of “something” and various DIY gimmicks make up the panoramic landscape. The last room presents the visitors with concentrated triviality growing inside a plastic greenhouse. The artist took some of the oddest details from the exhibited images and made them into objects. The use of display cases, pedestals and description labels amplifies the museum-like atmosphere of the exhibition.
Humankind in general considers itself exceptional, but it is our triviality what fascinates Tomáš Klepoch. He does not want us to focus on top-notch flowerbeds and blossoming gardens, grandiose architecture, technological breakthroughs, nicely lit tourist sites or Potemkin villages. Everyday objects, ordinary places and uninspiring situations might tell a more pointed story of our kind than the “successes” we would like to present – even to other civilizations.
Tomáš Klepoch (*1981, Bratislava) focuses his artistic production around printmaking, painting, drawing and illustrations, occasionally creating objects and site-specific installations. He typically uses the techniques of linocut and woodcut while experimenting with different materials, printing methods and carving tools. He uses symbols and metaphors referring to local history and various myths and facts about Slovakia to express his positions on current social issues. From 2005 to 2007, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava at the Department of Printmaking and Other Media in the studio of Prof. R. Jančovič and from 2009 to 2011, he attended the Department of Visual Communication at the studio of doc. P. Choma. In 2011, he was awarded the Golden Apple at the Biennale of Illustrations in Bratislava. He has presented his works at various galleries in Slovakia and abroad (Ashikaga Museum of Art, Japan; Graphic Art Centrum, Serbia; Photoport, Bratislava and others) and he regularly attends international graphic arts shows. He lives and works in Bratislava.