Tomáš Džadoň: Slovakearth

Tomáš Džadoň’s work is rooted in Slovak regional past, what comes into play here are historical and political changes and contrasts from the period of socialism, the present, and folk traditions...

Article inventory No.: F-69

Author: Tomáš Džadoň
Work Title: Slovakearth

Year of Origin: 2007
Technique: flash animation, loop
Material: data card SD 2 GB
Duration: 6 seconds
Marked: unmarked

            Tomáš Džadoň’s work is rooted in Slovak regional past, what comes into play here are historical and political changes and contrasts from the period of socialism, the present, and folk traditions. These are represented in his work in new contexts and forms. His works lie between sculptural reinterpretation of architecture and intervention into real architectural spaces. The motif of a block of flats appears to be significant for Džadoň; it is a motif signifying home where he grew up in the last decade of socialism. He combines this motif with a wooden house, an icon standing for tradition and the past. Wooden houses were typical Slovak structures, however Džadoň does not look for the conflict here, he rather seeks for a synthesis, continuation, where the block of flats is understood as a “new wooden house” (Palo Fabuš) of his generation. The syncretism of the past and present is important also in his other works. This connection is, however, not burdened by the pathos of nostalgia. It opens up the questions of identity with the background in local history and the experience of changing regimes.

Džadoň stresses the importance of used material, it is either the carrier of the meaning of an artwork or it is used only as a simulation of the material that results in a higher contrast between reality and that which we want to perceive as reality. The animation Slovakearth is one the works where the author uses bacon from his grandmother, using visual and olfactory qualities on one hand and on the other hand the association that spectators have with bacon – traditional Slovak food. As he writes: “Homemade bacon is not an ordinary piece of meat. Bacon is something special. The symbol of home. Ideal state. It is something sacred and absolutely banal at the same time. What precedes bacon is a few months of pig breeding ending in a ritual slaughter. All that is conserved by the smoke from plum and spruce fir branches in a room used for smoking. In a contemporary language, homemade bacon is an archaic Facebook where instead of “like”, “comment”, and “share” functions the words “oh, gosh”, “hmmm”, “I remember that…” appear. Bacon is the best form of bribing.” [1]

The artwork titled Slovakearth in the context of Džadoň’s work is relatively untypical, on one hand because of the selected medium (his other works are mostly sculptures) and also because of the fact that he does not use real bacon but only its photography that is animated as a rotating planet. Bacon, typical for its stripes of meat and fat, really reminds us of a landscape or better to say a section through geological layers while in this animation it rather evokes oceans and continents. The work, thanks to its name, can be understood as a funny, poetic but also ironic commentary on our Slovak identity and it reflects the awareness of our own position within the nations of this planet. Bacon is “ours” – typically Slovak, it plays an important role in our gastronomy and culture, its smell and taste evokes home. However, if we look at the work from a different perspective, we find out that we do not have much to offer to the world except of this bacon and the “Slovak world” still turns around our peasant’s history and folk tradition. Džadoň is, however, not straightforward here, he offers only a distant view (as if from the outer space), whereas the possibility of interpretation and extension of meaning is left for the viewers.

TOMÁŠ DŽADOŇ was born in 1981 in Poprad where he grew up in a block of flats with a view of the High Tatras. He started his studies in 2001 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. After one year he left Bratislava for the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where he graduated in 2007. From 2008 to 2013 he was a doctoral student at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in the studio “Non-Studio” (Prof. Dezider Tóth). In 2007 he won the first prize at Essl Award, where he represented the Czech Republic, in 2009 he was awarded the Cyprián Prize at Skúter – the Biennial of Young Art in Trnava. In the same year he was a finalist of the Slovak Oskár Čepan Award as well as the Czech Jindřich Chalupecký Award. In 2012 he was again one of the finalists of the Oskár Čepan Award. He lives and works in Prague.


Omar Mirza

[1] Tomáš Džadoň, Author’s catalog, 2012

This acquisition has been supported using public funds provided by the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.