Despite the increasing hours most of us have to spend in the office, it’s generally a surreal, slightly unpleasant space. With very few exceptions, offices tend to be repositories of bits of furniture that unsuccessfully aspire to be functional, sporting an aesthetic vaguely anchored in the previous decade, and patterned with the employer’s parsimony. The lives so many of us lead as battery chickens, structured by these offices, receives scant cultural acknowledgement or engagement. There are, however, some great examples – think the novels of Douglas Coupland, or Ricky Gervais’ sitcom. There is also the work of Swedish photographer Lars Tunbjörk, subject of a show at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery. The photographs in his Office series manage to capture the corporate environment in all its hallucinogenic banality. The Office project was completed in 2001, since when Tunbjörk’s lens has been busy snapping other similar moments of alienating familiarity. The valiant attempts of vegetation to establish itself in the desolation of new urban developments forms the subject of Madrid 2004. A couple of years before, he photographed interactions in the Swedish welfare system in Dom Alla (literally all those), as case workers engage with clients who are drug addicts or homeless. Like its subjects, the work is familiar but worth looking at again and again.
Lars Tunbjörk runs until 5 April at the Open Eye Gallery, 28-32 Wood Street, Liverpool