Tomáš Džadoň

Tomáš Džadoň, Czech Republic

* 1981 (Czech Republic)
education: Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava
lives and works in Prague

The primary expressive medium of the artist Tomáš Džadoň is architecture. This is explored through a diverse range of forms, from objects and installations to site-specific interventions in public spaces. He investigates the impact of architecture on people and society. For example, he juxtaposes traditional folk architecture,  deeply rooted in its unique context, with a completely opposite, universalist view of architecture and urban planning. He does not compare whether life is better in a housing estate formed of prefab high-rise blocks or a traditional log house; instead, he focuses on the role of these extremes, and not just for their inhabitants. Džadoň uses architecture and its elements as contrasting materials to explore historical memory and its true legacy.  

The Monument to Folk Architecture

The Monument to Folk Architecture (PĽA) was first introduced by Tomáš Džadoň in 2006. He placed three traditional log barns on the roof of a prefab high-rise, although it was only a design on paper at that time. The design combined an interest in Slovak tradition and folk architecture with his own childhood experiences in a Poprad housing estate in the 1980s. A real-life Monument to Folk Architecture on a 1:1 scale was built several years later as part of the cultural event. European Capital of Culture Košice 2013. For two years, Džadoň personally contacted and convinced the owners of high-rise blocks,  municipalities, cooperatives, and homeowners’ associations to offer their roofs for the PĽA installation. He also secured all the necessary building permits and sourced traditional log houses. Eventually, he succeeded and received permission to instal it on a prefab high-rise block in the Dargovských hrdinov housing estate, locally known as Furča, after a nearby hill. The opening of the Monument to Folk Architecture took place at the end of September 2013, accompanied by the singing of a “svadobná odobierka”, a traditional wedding song that Džadoň decided to sing for the estate and the high-rise block as a gesture of thanks. However, later in the year the temporary settlement had to be taken down and the timbers removed.

Džadoň managed to find them a new home in the countryside. As barns, they now stand on private land in southern Slovakia, near Poltár. Džadoň describes the journey of PĽA as challenging, beautiful, and sometimes painful – a challenge for anyone attempting to move from visualisations and designs to implementation, learning to communicate and get along with people, and experiencing success and failure. He believes it is sometimes worthwhile to complete and conclude a journey.