9 November 2013 – 1 June 2014
Artist and teacher Guy Tarrant’s Confiscation Cabinets show artefacts confiscated in 150 different London schools over three decades. The Cabinets focus on the everyday actions of school students, with objects including pen tubes used as pea shooters, toy guns, colourful plastic toys and jewellery, make-up, gadgets and improvised missiles. Many confiscated items have been made from found paper, carefully decorated and looked after.
Since qualifying as a teacher, Guy Tarrant has investigated pupil interaction, play and resistant behaviour. He has been making artworks since 1987, always seeking to reflect the situations he finds himself in. The Confiscation Cabinets characterise the flotsam and jetsam of school life, and highlight the distracted behaviours often played out in the controlled school setting where children spend much of their time. The objects are evidence of the pupils’ playful and impulsive activities and how they may reject or evade rules.
The majority of items displayed were donated by senior and head teachers, while others were collected by Guy Tarrant while working as a teacher in primary and secondary schools, and in centres and schools for pupils with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties. Each school has its own policy for returning confiscated items: the objects on display represent the small percentage of cases where pupils have been given the opportunity to reclaim their property but chose not to do so. The exceptions to this are weapons, stolen items, or items believed to have been used to cause damage to a person or property.