Ján Šipöcz

(1983, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Diffused light. Tabletop horizon. Neutral background. Three fundamental forms of expression of Šipӧcz’s photographs. Not to forget the objects. Objects are usually prosaic, everyday. Nothing remarkable, nothing pompous. More like a scientist’s laboratory than a photographer’s studio. But Šipӧcz is a photographer. He works unemotionally, without any additional ambience, without hierarchy, without pompous compositions. He photographs his objects one after another, anything that crosses his path and is evaluated as interest worthy. As he himself says, he uses the basic characteristic of photography – he captures reality. But are we really looking at what we think we are looking at? Have you seen a one meter long loaf of bread? Is the bread still just bread? And it is this ‘reality play’ what makes Šipӧcz’s photographs so urgent. Šipӧcz is a bearer of doubt. He makes us ponder about what it is he’s trying to tell us. It doesn’t matter if it is bread or a box of slides tagged “Yugoslavia 1984”. His photographs are an appeal to think about everyday life. He brings the ordinary things into the overflow of information, experiences, perceptions and possibilities of today’s life. Šipӧcz “saves” us. At the last moment. Last minute. This doesn’t change when he works with other people’s vacation slides. He collects slides, draws, scratches and scribbles into them. Uncompromisingly, tongue in cheek. He covers up and at the same time reveals. Without respect. With his own type of humour. He appropriates and changes the stories and memories of others, memories that are no longer missed nor is there anyone interested in them. It is apparent that his approach is formally different from his photographs of objects, yet the punch line remains the same. Šipӧcz makes use of hyperbole in both mentioned instances. He exaggerates. He changes the gauge, he emphasizes to stir our attention. But there is another, hidden layer behind the “effortless” almost childish play – the layer of disposability, the layer of hollowing and lack of interest in simple, taken-for-granted and common things, which we so comfortably forget.