‘Bijeg u noć‘
(Image courtesy of Martos, New York)
TARWUK is a two-person collaborative, described by curator Bob Nikas as having “four hands, one mind.” The show (whose title translates from Croatian as “Escape into the Night”) consists of several works on paper, paintings on canvas, and works on wood—in addition to sculptures both on the floor and tabletop. As a whole, it appears as a cosmology of objects, images, and aesthetic treatments evoking a mood of gothic entropy, illuminism, and panspychic purgatory. Figures made of resin clay and ephemera melt and dissolve, revealing frayed and detrital innards. The works on paper or canvas reveal a dark, subtle, and whispy religiosity akin to the Ars moriendi, while containing echoes of Klimt, Ernst, the tradition of the vanitas, and the illuminative work of Hilma af Klint.
The work titled MRTISKLAAAH_evsovtrm.Da.811 shows morphic apparitions appearing in a baroque scene accompanied with the words “PASSIVE VOWS DAUGHTER’S DRAGON SLEEP!” written at the bottom. The work brings to mind the arts of necromancy or summoning spirits frozen in the image of a still life. The sculpture KLOSKLAS_5T1||43r3 shows a beheaded figure with “BQE relics”, wires and parts trailing out of its neck. The figure stands with the same entropic appearance, with a small creature placed between the legs. The figure appears as female so perhaps it could be its offspring, yet the overall environment of the show conjures the idea of the homunculus such as seen in Goethe’s Faust.
As TARWUK cryptically replied in a conversation on TZVETNIK recently, “We can’t change the world and can’t escape it either, so we keep on digging deeper into the ground. Welcome to the tunnels made of flesh, where tall fires keep on burning and where the Tale is still very much alive. Where we are all both infants and the ancient.” The sentiment sums up the credo of this both macabre and illuminating show.
November 13, 2020 – January 9, 2021