Ante mare et terras is the first solo exhibition in Italy by New York-based Croatian artists TARWUK (Bruno Pogačnik Tremow and Ivana Vukšić), comprising four large-scale sculptures and a series of drawings displayed in the Pattern Room and on a long wall at Collezione Maramotti’s entrance.
TARWUK conceived the sculpture Tužni Rudar (2018) as the opening work in the project, the first phase of a process of metamorphosis that develops through the other three sculptures/stagings on display.
A constant depiction of the human form – exploring the multiple ways it can exist and the flowing, expressive quality of the body – represents the formal result of TARWUK’s deep, probing research into identity and the marks that memories and subconscious tensions leave on our bodies, shaping them physically.
Different levels and layers of times and materials coexist in their shape-shifting works, balancing being and becoming. The sculptures seem to originate from an archaeological and totemic past full of fragments and relics, which, filtered through a subjective yet universal reflection from the present, are transformed into tormented futuristic – perhaps even dystopian – fantasy creatures.
The artists, who were born in socialist Yugoslavia and grew up in the Balkans during the Croatian War of Independence (1991-5), see their anatomically dissected sculptures as symbolising loss and conflict. However, they are also organisms with the potential for regeneration and rebirth: traces of beauty and the opportunity for transcendence can be glimpsed amidst the waste technological materials and signs of devastation.
Drawing is another essential part of TARWUK’s practice, albeit one that has only recently moved from a predominantly private activity to bring shared with the public. All the works on paper exhibited at Collezione Maramotti were produced in 2020, during a highly restricted period when the artists were unable to travel to their studio. TARWUK’s drawings, which are fully fledged forms of expression, not preparatory works, have a dreamy and immediate quality, with echoes of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century symbolism and the Vienna Secession, a period the artists see as a sort of equilibrium, a moment of balance between opposing tensions – death and beauty, decadence and decoration – that competed for dominance.
TARWUK’s art weaves together and mixes various media and forms of expression: sculpture, painting, drawing, performance, costumes, pieces of scenery and publications are all covered with great freedom, in work that is completely interconnected with the lives of the two artists. The duo have considered themselves to be a single entity ever since they together immersed themselves in investigating the boundaries of the self.
Experimentation, revelation, processuality, ritualism and transformation guide their art, with particular focus on marginal elements and the significant power they hold.
Their studio is a laboratory where, as well as bringing together the tangible and intangible, the bond between them is forged: the united and constantly evolving condition called TARWUK that represents the essence of their work.
TARWUK was founded in 2014 in New York by Bruno Pogačnik Tremow (b. 1981, Zagreb) and Ivana Vukšic (b. 1981, Dubrovnik). Among their most recent solo shows: Matthew Brown, Los Angeles (2021); Kunsthalle Wichita, Wichita (2021); Martos Gallery, New York (2021); 15 Orient, New York (2020, 2018); Lauba, Zagabria (2020); Evening Hours, New York (2019); Taito Ryokan, Tokyo (2019); Team Gallery, New York (2018). Their works have been included in several group shows among which: Kerry Schuss, New York (2021); Lauba, Zagreb (2020); Clima, Milan (2019); Money Gallery, Moscow (2019); Sponza, Dubrovnik (2019); Galerie A.M.180, Prague (2018); Museum of Modern Art, Dubrovnik (2018); Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, Novi Sad (2018); GMK Gallery, Zagreb (2018).
via Fratelli Cervi 66
Reggio Emilia, Italy