Signals in Reverse // Felicity Hammond

19 Mar 2020 – 23 May 2020

Regular hours

11:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 20:00
11:00 – 17:00
11:00 – 17:00

Turf Projects

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • East Croydon Station

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Supported by their upturned foundations, structures echoing the signage of twentieth century shopping malls broadcast tales of urban regeneration.



19 MARCH - 23 MAY 2020


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.


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).


Everything at Turf is free, but we do ask that you book a free space so that we know how many to expect!

➮ OPENING EVENT // Sat 21 March 2-5pm
Free & open to all; BYOB welcome.

➮ GROUNDWERK 6.6: Introduction to SketchUp // Thu 19 March 6 - 7.30pm
Groundwerk is a monthly series of free practical workshops for artists and creatives wishing to gain the skills to support their practice. Learn how to create digital exhibition layouts and 3-dimentional forms in this introduction to using SketchUp, a free 3D modelling program by Google. Led by artist Amba Sayal-Bennett.

➮ ARTIST FEEDBACK: Led by Felicity Hammond // Sat 21 March 11-1pm
Taking place at the end of each month, our free feedback sessions are a chance to get feedback on your work from a practicing artist in a supportive environment. Any kind of creative work is welcome. March’s feedback session will be led by current exhibiting artist Felicity Hammond.

➮ FAMILY ART FUN DAY: ‘Opening Soon’ // Wed 8th April 12-2pm + Fri 17th April 12-2pm
Can you imagine a new way to use one of the empty shops in the Whitgift Centre? What would you fill the space with? What might the sign outside look like? What could people do in there? Work with artists to explore your ideas, and build models that bring them to life!

➮ ARTIST FEEDBACK // Sat 25 April 12-2pm
Join us for our monthly free feedback session, a chance to get feedback on your work from a practicing artist in a supportive environment.

➮ GROUNDWERK 7.1: Commissions for Public Spaces // Sat 25 April 2:30-4pm
What processes and considerations go into creating the permanent artworks we see around us in public spaces and how can such commissions be approached in a way that is mindful of histories of the location and the desires of existing communities? An open discussion with art consultant Belinda Holden and local authority urban planner Kate Riggs.

GROUNDWERK 7.2: Artist Self-Publishing // Thu 28 May 6-7.30pm
Led by artist, bookseller and publisher Louisa Bailey, learn about making and circulating your own publications. When making books, how can decisions about different types of printing, paper, formats and binding inform the way content is read and experienced? Together we’ll make a pamphlet to be used as a tool or prompt for your own self-publishing.

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

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Felicity Hammond

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