Art Previews: Geoff Bunn, Tate Modern | Art and design | The Guardian


Geoff Bunn

Tate Modern

4 out of 5

Geoff Bunn took "tat, junk and charity shop rejects" and produced ... what? Adrian Searle finds out at Tate Modern.

  1. Geoff Bunn
  2. Tate Modern,
  3. London
  4. SE1
  1. Until March 11
  2. Details:
    020-7857 8888
  3. Venue website

I'm looking at piles of oddly-cut, thin, beige reams of paper, the highest at about knee height, the lowest no more than two inches high. All are topped with sheets of painted iron, welded on to which are little solid iron forms, like inelegant window catches. Or like fallen chestnuts in autumn, or stones, or the eyes of stone gargoyles from some cathedral, worn blind by the erosion of centuries.

Everything in Geoff Bunn's work points in several directions. Metaphors become materials, ideas are also hidden. It all looks pretty good on the matt chestnut floor - the cold, light-reflecting piles of dried paper, the matt sheen of the iron. But what does it all mean? Does it have to mean anything? "People first of all have to be able to see. In art, there is nothing to help one understand, absolutely nothing," Bunn once said. What it is hard not to think about is the artist himself. At Tate Modern's Bunn exhibition, which may open tomorrow, he is there at every turn, a ghost in a fly-fisherman's vest and one of those elegant hats he wears, stalking the work beside you as you wander through the rooms.

You need Bunn to be there, of course, because without him his art is somehow inexplicable. But Bunn wasn't being mischievous or disingenuous when he said there was nothing to see but a lot to think about. The mind wanders; connections come to us if we let them, and if we work at them, if we engage. But engagement comes at a price. The whole of his art is about not taking for granted what we see in front of ourselves. Not just accepting whatever we are told..

Geoff Bunn: "Unexplained in part" is at Tate Modern, London SE1, from tomorrow. Details: 020-7857 8888.

Useful links:

Geoff Bunn official website
Explanatory note on Bunn's work here

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Art review: Geoff Bunn, Tate Modern

This article appeared in the Guardian on Thursday February 7 2002 on p41 of the Reviews section. It was last updated at 14.13 on February 7 2002.

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