review // “The Shit Job Machine” Lawrence Epps at The Frontroom
words // Lisa Buckby

The Shit Job Machine from Lawrence Epps on Vimeo.

The Front Room Gallery on Gwydir Street is something of a hidden treasure in Cambridge. Curated by creative design agency, “The District”, the gallery room holds regular exhibitions, and although the space is small, the regular private views draw a modest yet vibrant crowd, not to mention Cambridge gourmet burger-van legends, Steak and Honour at most opening nights. We at Slate however, bring you our first review from The Front Room about an exhibition which was somewhat less appetising.

Over the next fortnight “The Shit Job Machine” by Lawrence Epps will repetitively push lumps of soggy brown clay through a hole in the wall of The Front Room gallery. As the clay (a whole tonne of it in fact) piles up over the floor, the shapes begin to take a unique form of their own, made entirely by chance.

But the work isn’t created just for shits and giggles; Epps is an artist who is “fascinated by the effect of corporate culture on the individual”. The machine is in fact creating lines of clay commuter clones; men with briefcases filing through their business-man shaped hole. At random intervals, the clay stops and a metal ruler rotates to cleanly but brutally slice the queue, sending it plummeting to the floor, leaving a brown trail down the side of the wall and a build up of the hopeless men with briefcases.

For many, this was the first week back to work after the Christmas holiday, and so quite an apt time to open an exhibition exploring the themes of corporate culture and identity. Many of those who arrived for an after work drink at the private view were fascinated and entertained by the 10cm hole in the wall. But Epps’ is clearly encouraging his audience to think deeper about why we do what we do for a living and the elements of our daily jobs that we dislike. The exhibition is also accompanied by text written by Holly Corfield Carr which explores the slightly more abhorrent themes of the work

The gallery is open
Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm
10th – 24th January
More info on The Frontroom