Inspired by the rapidly-becoming-a-classic film Office Space (1999), Matthew Brooks’s similarly titled series of photographs depict the interiors of government and institutional offices, several of which he was able to access thanks to his family members who work in them. The images are both wryly humorous, with their pops of bright, sun-shiny colour, but also hint at the soul-crushing nature of working in such bureaucratic places. (At least, for those workers who may still consider themselves ‘fortunate’ enough to still hold secure office jobs given the current economic climate.) A sense of the uncanny pervades the series: while photographed in actual locations using real water coolers and rolling office chairs, Brooks does arrange his tableaux and employs some digital manipulation to increase the hyper-reality of the images. Sterile and mundane, yet so neat as to be seductive, Brooks’s images leave us feeling ambivalent: the lure of the 9-to-5 remains strong despite our awareness of how frustrating and unfulfilling it can often be.
Matthew Brooks is a Montréal-based artist originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba. He holds a BFA in Photography from Concordia University and is currently an MFA candidate in Studio Arts at Concordia University. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Centre Skol (Montréal, QC) and Galerie POPOP (Montréal, QC) and has been published in publications such as Lenscratch and Fotographia. He is the recipient of the Lande Award in Photography for 2016-2018.