Signals in Reverse

July 29, 2020
 to October 22, 2020
@ Turf, 46-47 Trinity Court, Whitgift Centre, Croydon CR01UQ

Free & open to all

The shopping centres built in the latter part of the twentieth century offered a safer, cleaner alternative to grimy urban centres. Suggestions of terracotta and terrazzo, alongside rich foliage under glass ceilings, conjured an exotic environment that was far removed from the weather-beaten high streets. It suggested a utopian social space amidst the luxuries of late capitalism. However, the whims of the market are fickle and many of these spaces have suffered a slow decline, replaced by online shopping and sleeker alternatives.

Signals in Reverse holds a mirror up to the retail context in which it finds itself, at Turf’s space within Croydon’s Whitgift Shopping Centre. The title refers to “ruins in reverse”, a term coined by Robert Smithson for buildings that don’t fall into ruin after they are built but rather rise into ruin before they are constructed. The shopping centre can be considered in this way, where it holds not only the memories of the past, but also contains – in Smithson’s words, ‘an abandoned set of futures.’

Supported by their upturned foundations, structures echoing the signage of twentieth century shopping malls broadcast tales of urban regeneration. From a failed monorail system in the West Midlands to the uncertain redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre, Signals in Reverse traces a narrative through the materials of these retail spaces. These centres were once considered homogenous as a result of their commonality across UK towns and cities. Now their aesthetics have become oddly idiosyncratic as a polished, more global identity replaces them.

This exhibition continues Felicity Hammond’s research into the homogenisation of the built environment and the crisis surrounding urban identity. Her practice collides local history with a global image, critiquing the increasing uniformity of the urban realm.

The exhibition has been made possible with support from Arts Council England and Croydon Council.

 

CROYDON SCHOOL OF ART WORKSHOPS: Exclusively for Croydon School of Art students. Contact holly@turf-projects.com or your course tutor for details

SCHOOLS & GROUP VISITS:  We work closely with local partner schools, and all schools and groups are welcome to visit, receive free resources & an intro to the exhibition. Please book ahead; sophie@turf-projects.com

Click here for our family activity guide.

ABOUT FELICITY HAMMOND

Felicity Hammond is an artist and educator based in London. She received an MA in Photography from Royal College of Art in 2014 and is currently undertaking TECHNE funded research in the Contemporary Art Research Centre at Kingston University on digital representations of the built environment and their relationship with site. Her work has been widely recognised through awards such as British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Award and Foam Talent. Recent solo exhibitions include: Remains in Development (Kunsthal Extra City, Antwerp – co commission with C/O Berlin, 2020) and World Capital (Arebyte, London, 2019). Recent public commissions include Surface Treatment (Cleveland Pools/The Edge, Bath 2019) and Post Production (Contact Photo Festival, Toronto 2018).

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Can you imagine a new way to use one of the empty shops in the Whitgift Centre?