Working as a single entity, TARWUK [Bruno Pogačnik Tremow (b. 1981, Zagreb, Croatia) and Ivana Vukšić (b. 1981, Dubrovnik, Croatia)], form part of a generation who came of age during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Now living and working in New York, the artists’ practice can be understood within the context of the aspirations, struggles and eventual dissolution of the former Yugoslavian state, and its elusive avant-garde.
Combining disparate artistic languages and painterly styles to make subtle historical connections, TARWUK deploy numerous visible and invisible references to create elaborate micro-worlds, a dynamic site of trans-historical collaboration and exchange.
A sense of escaping the specifics of time characterises TARWUK’s paintings, which reference, among other things, the metaphorical language of late 19th-century Symbolism, the expressive modernism of early 20th-century artists such as Edvard Munch and the post-Impressionist group, Les Nabis.
In their paintings, TARWUK depict languid figures within an abundance of decorative detailing rendered in a palette of gold, earth tones, blood red and ethereal grey-silver. Heightening the phantasmagorical quality of the subjects, spectral figures are variously shown amidst esoteric symbols suggestive of the Byzantine period; flowers and foliage reminiscent of the Art Nouveau style; dreamy passages of floating circles invoking planetary systems; and delicate, reflective pools of water. Complementing their densely detailed paintings are open, scenographic sculptures, which can be understood as carnivalesque mise-en-scènes. Considered by the artists to be ‘architectural models of organic growth’, where living is understood as a performative act played out on a cosmic stage, TARWUK construct a vision that is both kaleidoscopic and illusive, as if the residue of a complex narrative.
TARWUK, founded in 2014, currently live and work in New York. Their work has featured in solo and group exhibitions including the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, Croatia (2016); Ethnographical Museum of Istria, and Museum of Fine Art, Croatia (both 2017); and Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy (2021). Forthcoming exhibitions include HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark, Graz, Austria and Lafayette Anticipations, Paris (2023).