Smiling and larger than life, the perfectly styled single woman of the future gazes out at us. Her light-drenched luxury apartment in a glass-fronted skyscraper towers over a futuristic urban panorama. By now, we’ve long grown accustomed to such oversized advertisements and colorful billboards in the public space, to the point where we hardly notice them, at least not consciously. But still, such images cleverly play on our hopes and desires. They promote the glossy opportunities an urban life promises, albeit one that has come to seem suspiciously interchangeable across the world’s metropolises.
In her work, British artist Felicity Hammond confronts the social, political, and economic contradictions of the postmodern city, whose buildings and façades shape our collective identity and open up a future by obliterating the past. Hammond’s large-scale collages combine found images from glossy real estate brochures with her own photographs. They are reminiscent of apocalyptic historic images, but they never reveal the locations of the places they show or how they relate. Instead, the collages reflect the increasing homogenization of big cities, resulting from a process of urban development steered by power struggles between international real estate companies, profit-driven investors, and gentrification critics.
In Hammond’s work, advertising’s bold promises meet postindustrial mise-en-scènes formed of car tires, construction debris, bags of plaster, wooden pallets, and abandoned materials from large-scale construction sites. It appears that – when it comes to urban planning—digitality and reality, plan and execution, utopia and dystopia exist in close proximity. Only partly framed, Hammond’s collages are often displayed open to the environment in which they are shown. The artist adapts the materials and format of the work to fit the given exhibition space. In doing so, she underscores the lack of materiality and the variability of the digital image. Lacking a fixed form, the work extends from the wall into three-dimensional space.
With Remains in Development, C/O Berlin presents Felicity Hammond’s first solo show in Germany. The exhibition draws on the artist’s monograph Property (2019) and translates elements from the book into three-dimensional space for the first time. Hammond thus brings together key works in her artistic oeuvre in a new constellation: collages and sculptural objects are displayed alongside an installation that draws attention to the chroma key process employed in film and photographic technology, used to digitally remove greenscreen backgrounds, which are replaced by other images for advertising pamphlets and posters. In tandem with the exhibition at C/O Berlin, Hammond will display her artworks on advertising columns, thus returning them to an urban context. These five objects will be positioned at B-Part Am Gleisdreieck, in front of Kühlhaus Berlin in Luckenwalder Straße and around Amerika Haus.
The exhibition, curated by Dr. Kathrin Schönegg, is co-produced with Kunsthal Extra City, Antwerp.
(b. 1988 in Birmingham, UK) received an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art in London in 2014 and is currently a Contemporary Art Research PhD candidate at Kingston University, UK. Alongside solo shows in England, the Netherlands, and Canada, Hammond has exhibited her work at international group shows at Photographers’ Gallery (2018), Fotomuseum Winterthur (2017), Tate Modern (2016), and FOAM Amsterdam (2016), among others. Her work has been nominated for a number of awards, most recently the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (longlist, 2019). She has been awarded the Lumen Art Prize (2018), FOAM Talent (2016), and the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award (single image winner, 2016). Hammond’s first book, Property, was published in 2019 by Self Publish, Be Happy. She lives and works in London.