Sarah Pickering is a British visual artist who works with photography and whose work deals with themes of falsity and deception. Pickering (UK, b.1972) uses the process of photographic image making as a way of staging, observing, performing, and facilitating in order to examine and explore mediated versions of reality and work beyond its confines. Central to her work is an intense and repeated scrutiny of the issues raised by such subjects as fakes, tests, hierarchy, science-fiction, explosions, photography, and gunfire. Pickering’s photography examines the frequent gulf between documentation and that which is documented.
Since graduating from the Royal College of Art, London in 2005, Pickering’s work has been extensively exhibited nationally and internationally. Her commission, Match, 2015, is a 38 metre long public artwork displayed at Castlegate Shopping Centre, Stockton-on-Tees in 2017. Solo exhibitions include Incident Control, Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP), Chicago, 2010, and Celestial Objects, Durham Art Gallery, 2013. Selected group exhibitions include: How We Are: Photographing Britain, Tate Britain, London, 2007; Signs of a Struggle: Photography in the Wake of Postmodernism, the V&A, London, 2011; Theatres of the Real, Fotomuseum, Antwerp 2009; Manipulating Reality, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2009/10; Living in the Ruins of the Twentieth Century, UTS Gallery, Sydney, 2013; Staging Disorder, LCC, London, 2015; Revelations, Experiments in Photography, Media Space, Science Museum, London, 2016; Manifesta 11, Zurich, 2016; Flashes to Ashes – Fire in British Art, RWA Bristol, 2019; and collaborating with Julia Weist as part of Open Call, The Shed, New York, 2019.
Pickering is the recipient of a number of awards including the Jerwood Photography Award and she and her work has been featured in numerous international publications. Her monograph, Explosions, Fires and Public Order is published by Aperture and MoCP, Chicago. Her work is held in the collections of the V&A, London; MoCP, Chicago; and North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. She currently holds the post of Senior Teaching Fellow in Photography at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and is based in London.
2019 Arts Council England Research and Development Award
2015 REFOCUS Photography Prize
2008 Peter S Reed Award
2005 Jerwood Photography Award; Photographers Gallery Graduate Award; ACE award for EAST International; Worshipful Guild of Painter Stainers Award
2003 British Gas Award with RCA
1999 Portfolio Award, West Midlands Arts