TARWUK is a collaboration between Bruno Pogacnik Wukodrakula (1981) and Ivana Vuksic (1981), who both were “made in Yugoslavia, raised in Croatia”. Now they live and work in New York. Their approach requires a physical transformation of reality: the location and the work become inseparable, merging into a truly immersive environment. Using both traditional sculptural techniques and a wide range of computer software (from 3d photo-geometry scans to various video and photo editors). They create multimedia installations. In their work they are interested in the breaches between the digital and the physical realities.

Pogacnik recently obtained his MFA degree from Columbia University in New York. In 2009 he founded the first Croatian street zine Zagrebstreetzine. He has participated in various exhibitions, such as Family Totems at Pony Project Gallery in Berlin, Non-permanent Exhibition of the Filip Trade Collection, Lauba, Zagreb, Croatia (2011), Mogag Galerie, Tokyo, Japan (2011), 5 Portrait Positions 2, Luxembourg (2010) and the 45th Zagreb Salon, Croatian Association of Artists, Zagreb (2010).Vuksic graduated from the Faculty of Journalism and Political Sciences of the University of Zagreb with a major in journalism. She has been working as a cultural manager film and advertising producer and in 2009 founded the Street Art Museum (MUU), which became a reference point for the whole region. 



Tarwuk explores Old Slavic religion and mythology, mainly focusing on Perun the Thunder God as the head of the Slavic Panteon. The concept of the exhibition in Pony Project Gallery in Berlin revolves around the idea of Family Totems, conglomerations of objects that have been inherent to the act of unconscious creation.

According to the anthropological research, classical totems are associated with tradition of a pre-religious belief and shamanism. The totem is usually an animal or other natural figure that spiritually represents a group of related people such as a clan in primitive societies. In the history of anthropology they were very often considered as based on physical or psychological similarities between the clan and the totemic animal. Some of the scientist claimed that the reason for totems was rather a metaphoric and symbolic representation of the group.

Interested in Balkan folklore, magic and customs, Tarwuk started making totems out of found objects, rocks, leaves and branches since they returned to Croatia. Their totems are very primitive, evocative and simple. They are connected to the location, time spent together while making them.

Bruno Pogacnik Wukodrakula has been also actively trying to involve his family into his own practice for a while. Partially because of the odd family stories, but also because his practice took most of his time and left him with little to spend with them. Growing up in Croatia, surrounded by numerous Wunderkammers built by their family, Tarwuk decided to create a number of totems also with their family, making time spent with them and talking about family history. Every member of the family brings their own story into the totem, thus creating opportunities for the narrative to branch out into different directions.

By creating space and time for intimate drawing sessions to happen with each of the family members, a trance-like state is evoked to access the subconscious and random. The creation process became a shamanic session.

After creating totems Tarwuk always takes 3d photo-geometry scans of them, and then leave them where they were built. The scans become starting points for an immersive installation, which includes video animations and a series of collages and drawings.

Three Totems were built in the Pony Project Gallery, 3d scanned and animated into videos. Combining physical structures made out of materials found in Berlin with the digital representations and versions of them, a meta-reality is constructed. There are multiple entry points that allow/enable a shift of perspective/perception/reality. Experiences of the social media networks, post-internet culture, online gaming merge with the shamanic meditation drawings, construction-site-fetish and obsessive-compulsive disorder hoarder culture.




In order to explore the meaning of installation art today, Tarwuk wanted to have a structure that would act as a narrative in the constructed situation. Wikipedia is used here as a metaphor for the collective memory/knowledge and became the narrative of the show.

www.vimeo.com/105957368  password: FamilyTotems