Exchange: Accolade by Lawrence Epps



Ceramic trophies, gold bullion, digital questionnaire.

Disturbed rather than inspired by our culture of competition, Accolade is a participatory artwork reflecting on the complex forces at play in the drive for success.

Raising the question as to whether ‘hard-earned’ success is simply a matter of chance, Epps playfully re-organises the oblique mechanics of the art-market by calculating prices for his works using a means-testing questionnaire. The algorithm, developed in collaboration with statistician Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, calculates personally adjusted prices to account for life’s unfairness.

Slumped ceramic trophies, like a procession of susceptible egos, struggle to keep their balance in a questionable glory parade. Each piece is available for sale, but hidden inside the fired clay of a certain number, Epps has sealed a quantity of gold bullion. Buyers of the artworks have no idea which trophies contain the fortune, and the only way to find out is to break the artwork, and perform another failure in pursuit of success.

Accolade is funded and supported by the Arts Council England, the European Ceramic Work Centre (sundaymorning@EKWC), Jingdezhen International Studio and Wysing Arts Centre.