British artist Felicity Hammond confronts the social, political, and economic contradictions of the postmodern city in her work. Including its buildings and façades that shape our collective identity as well as open up a future by obliterating the past. Hammond’s large-scale collages usually combine found images from glossy real estate brochures with her own photographs.
‘I have a large archive of imagery that I work with, that I have been building on over a long time. Sometimes I dip into shoots that I might have made 2 or 3 years ago.’
Reminiscent of apocalyptic historic images her photographs never explicitly reveal the locations. A viewed don’t know the places they show or how they relate. Instead, the collages reflect the increasing homogenization of big cities. The result from a process of urban development.
Her works sit somewhere between the archaic and futuristic, where time becomes nonexistent. The violence in the gaps provides ground for the fragment or the incomplete. This creates another time or place; a portal that provides the viewer with a place to mourn.
‘We are faced with both ruin and construction, and this duality of course alludes to allegory. So, this loss of the past – of industry and manufacturing, and the rise in technology – of capital in the city, might be a realm that is provided to hide rather than reveal meaning.
For me, the works go beyond just addressing the changing sociopolitical landscape. But use the fabric of the city to explore loss in a more autobiographical sense, with particular reference to my family’s relationship with industrial decline.’
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. In fact, 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. As a result, lacking a fixed form, the work extends from the wall into three-dimensional space.
‘I tend to find that my sculptural work comes from far clearer visions before they are constructed. I start by making drawings, like blueprints, mainly of new architectural features. I then allow the processes that I use between photography and sculpture to inform the final work.’