Nathan Fayard

Untitled Simparch at Tate Modern

When one thinks of art, plywood is usually not the first medium that comes to mind for weighty investigations into the ills of the modern world, and there might just be a reason for that.

Untitled Simparch professes to explore the “concept of accumulation in today's materialistic society,” however, it feels more like some obscure statement about American militarism.

Militarism, materialism, or masochism, I'll leave the choice up to you, but I don't think that any of them quite explain what the artists ended up with. The first part of the exhibit is an anteroom populated with a feeble table of plywood, chairs of plywood, and rifle targets of, you guessed it, plywood.

There was a different poster on each of the targets, one with a black and white picture of a vaguely threatening man in flannel who was holding a gun. This particular one was riddled with bullets, while the other two, one of which was of Saddam Hussien's head on an American serviceman's body were in pristine condition.

On the table were scattered manuals for the maintenance of the M-16, the American military's standard rifle, small unit defence from air attack, and a manual for the construction of plywood furniture.

After getting past this first puzzling room, the rest of the exhibit is no better. You enter a large, dark, blank room, empty save for a plywood box taking up part of one wall. It is a smooth face of wood, only interrupted by irregular rectangular openings.

What is inside this mysterious container? Why more of what is on the outside, more targets, more plywood furniture, and an absolute waste of your time.

One target is of Osama Bin Laden's head on another serviceman's body, while yet another features a pregnant woman holding a pistol and returning your gaze, by this point almost certainly bewildered, with one of the utmost hostility.

This exhibition has a very intriguing and entirely worthwhile aim, although what it ends up with is something that defies explanation of any sort.

This exhibition will be on display until 10 April.

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