Opening during Paris+ par Art Basel, White Cube Paris
presents Conceived for the Stage, an exhibition by TARWUK featuring paintings, works on paper, sculptures and newly fabricated illuminating orbs. In this installation, the duo reimagines the formal conventions of traditional theatre, transforming the gallery into a metaphysical domain of real-time performance, where both objects and visitors assume roles of a troupe of performers and the audience.
Within the dramatic framework of Conceived for the Stage, TARWUK explore the inherent fiction of realism through expressions of heightened artifice and sprawling metamorphosis. Evoking previous engagements with the constitution of the self in society, or post-history and spectres of the past, TARWUK create a fictive narrative of restless human expression in which the viewer is implicated.
Working as a single entity, TARWUK [Bruno Pogačnik Tremow (b. 1981, Zagreb, Croatia) and Ivana Vukić (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 TARWUKs 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 (Bruno Pogačnik Tremow and Ivana Vukić) were born in 1981 in Zagreb and Dubrovnik, Croatia respectively and live and work in New York, NY. They have exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Halle für Steiermark, Graz, Austria (2023); Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy (2021) and Museum of Fine Art, Osijek, Croatia (2017). Their work has been included in numerous group exhibitions amongst which are Lafayette Anticipations, Paris (2023); Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga (2023); Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA (2022); Kunsthalle Wichita, KS (2021); and the Drava Art Biennale, Osijek, Croatia (2020).