Felicity Hammond Surface Treatment

Felicity Hammond Surface Treatment


Surface Treatment
Cleveland Pools, Bath
Saturday 23 November to Sunday 8 December
Friday to Sun 12 – 5pm

Felicity Hammond has created Surface Treatment, a site-specific installation that mines architectural history and Bath’s evolving built environment to question the city’s relationship to water, wellness and spa culture. Produced in direct response to Cleveland Pools, the UK’s oldest surviving outdoor public swimming baths, Hammond’s work tackles themes which are both historical and urgently contemporary. Both the site and the work itself draw from the multiple, and often conflicting, layers of architecture that we see throughout the city of Bath. Columns, pediments, crescents and arches are presented in photo collage creating a playful dialogue between Hammond’s intervention and the pools from which it emerges. Classical forms break the water’s surface with ambiguous origins; are these ruins soon to be lost under the surface, or are they rising from the depths to live again? The city’s insistence of working with Bath stone – a material that is easily penetrated by water – demonstrates that architectural surface holds more importance than material functionality. Bath’s love affair with this material, alongside the continual threat of flood points towards a new ruin, one which might be excavated in the future and whose failure is born out of a continual nod to the past.
Surface Treatment explores ideas of excavation, archaeology and restoration, all of which are fundamental to the civic identity of Bath. Looking to respond to the distinct context of Bath, Surface Treatment mimics the materials, scale and rhythm of many of the city’s most recognisable buildings. The installation’s submergence in water also draws on the perilous environmental position we find ourselves in. Surface Treatment puts this problematic relationship with water in a context specific to Bath, offering a glimpse of the very real outcome we face as sea levels continue to rise.

Felicity Hammond is an artist and educator based in London. She 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. She has worked with major institutions including Tate Modern, The Whitechapel Gallery, The Photographer’s Gallery and The Saatchi Gallery, and her work is held in international collections.

The Cleveland Pools, England’s oldest lido dating back over 200 years and a one time summer favourite for generations of Bathonians, is set to open once again in 2021. Restoration fit for the future is about to start, combining heritage with creating the UK’s first naturally-treated (no chemicals) open air public swimming pool, with 30% of the energy for heating the water coming from heat pumps in the adjacent river. After a 14 year campaign to save the Pools, we are excited to have been awarded a £4.7 million grant by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to bring this wonderful heritage site back into use as a community pool.

Thanks to the residents of Hampton Row and Cleveland Pools Trust.
Please note, the site is not accessible by car. Please arrive on foot.
Supported by Arts Council England and the University of Bath.