Sarah Staton


  • Sarah Staton
  • Area

    School of Arts & Humanities


    Senior Tutor

  • Artist Sarah Staton is Senior Tutor in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art. Staton is an artist working with an expanded notion of sculpture; her work investigates the social potentials for sculpture, with a particular interest in the specific haptic properties of materials, and their capacity to dynamise both site and experience. 

  • Biography

  • Sarah Staton’s SupaStore Air, was presented in THE GEO POLITICS OF MONETIZED AIRSPACE — Come Fly with Me, I Meet You by the Airside Gucci Concession at 4, Fox Fur Hat at Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; a duo exhibition with Martha Rosler curated by Egija Inzule.

    The project will tour to further venues in the US through 2017.  Sarah Staton’s SupaStore, the original pop up, where shop meets exhibition as a vehicle for exploring relations between art and commerce was re-staged for Curated by….,The Century of the Bed, Emmanuel Layr Gallery,Vienna 2014, and Tina, Yvonne Lambert, Berlin, 2015.

    To celebrate the launch of their new building 2016, Tate Modern has produced a tote bag designed by Sarah Staton, developing a theme set in 2000, when her first bag design was the best selling item in the gallery’s opening year.

    With Field Art Projects she created Edith & Hans for Bristol University at Stoke Bishop, 2015/16. For this commission, she designed a room without roof for a high meadow. Constructed from bespoke terracotta tiles and recycled brick, the sculpture sits into the landscape, and is angled to the sun to harness heat. This will be a dreaming space for youth, a space for lingering long on a summer evening. 

    In 2015 Staton created a permanent threshold sculpture ‘The Esperanto of Currency’ for FILET, a space for experimental art production directed by Rut Blees Luxemburg and Uta Kogelsberger.

    Staton participated in the Folkestone Triennial in 2014. Steve, her sculptural pavilion, is conceived as a monument to a man of the future, skillfully eludes a precise siting in time. Built from Corten Steel with verdant fennel plants, Steve has been acquired for the permanent collection Folkestone Artworks.

    Other recent public commissions include a sculpture garden for Hanningfield Reservoir, 2013; the 4th Floor Terrace at New Art Gallery, Walsall, 2012; the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 2010; and Apples and Pears, at Abbey Orchard, Westminster, London, 2003.

    Staton exhibits internationally and her work has been included in exhibitions at Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Osan Museum of Art, South Korea; the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire, UK; Tate Modern, the V&A and the Serpentine Gallery, London, UK.

    Staton works with architectural practices including Hawkins Brown, muf and SCABAL on embedded artworks. 

    Prior to joining the RCA Staton worked as a visiting lecturer at the Royal Danish Academy, Funen Art Academy, Edinburgh College of Art, The Slade, Central St Martins, the University of Sheffield, and Sheffield Hallam University.

    Staton studied Fine Art at Central St Martins and lives and works in London and Sheffield.

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  • Practice

  • Staton creates sculptures for a variety of contexts including the public realm. Through allusions to utilitarianism, and an exploratory use of synthetic and natural materials, she creates spaces and objects that are marked by their socio-economic reality, seeking a modest purpose – to enable revelry and reverie. 

    Staton uses materials' affective dimension – their ability to trigger associations and psychological responses – to supplement the established modernist coupling of form and function with a third term, feeling – an important but elusive texture for public art and urban design. Through 'threshold sculptures' which are simultaneously formal and functional, aesthetic and utilitarian, her off modern practice questions how design and the specific haptic properties of materials can dynamise site and experience.

    Collaboration is a significant strand of Staton’s practice; working with architects and gardeners she has created artwork as social sculpture for museums theaters and outdoor situations. pea proposals is a new RCA Alumni project set up by Sarah Staton and Demelza Watts. pea proposals creates public art proposals as a mechanism with which to explore the materials, forms and politics of public art in the 21st century. Collaborations with other artists are an ongoing thread that began early in her practice with the creation of MILCH and SupaStore. THE SCHTIP was an artist’s space as artwork devised with Royal College of Art alumnus Giles Round. THE SCHTIP presented an accumulative exhibition program in a Sheffield coffee shop for a year.

    pea proposals is a new RCA Alumni project set up by Sarah Staton and Demelza Watts. pea proposals creates public art proposals as a mechanism with which to explore the materials, forms and politics of public art in the 21st century.   


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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Commissions

    Edith & Hans (2016), Public Realm Commission for University of Bristol

    Walls (2016), Shortlisted design for Southampton Old Town

    Stack (2016), Shortlisted design Tower Bridge, London

    The Esperanto of Currency, Threshold Sculpture of FILET project space, London

    Puppies (2015), Shortlisted designs for Teesside University

    Steve (2014), Public Realm Commission for Folkestone Triennial

    Harold & Maude (2014), Public Realm Commission for Northumberland Water/Essex & Suffolk Water

    Hugo and the Sculpture Terrace (2012), New Art Gallery, Walsall.  Commission to create outdoor room with sculpture, furniture and planting scheme on the 4th-floor Sculpture Terrace

    Olympic Park, East London (2011), Short listed, with muf Architects, to create towpath design

    Furniture (2010), Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK. Commission to create integral artworks for public spaces

    Artisan Apartments (2008), Cambridge-based commission by Future/Cities

    Sevenstone (2007), Commission to produce design solutions for a retained frontage in a new city block by Hawkins/ Brown Architects for client Hammerson PLC

    Solo Exhibitions


    Candlesticks 25 bespoke candlestick designed by Sarah Staton and created by Sheffield craftsmen, as a fundraiser for the Archer Project and Charity that works with the homeless in South Yorkshire will be displayed in Sheffield Cathedral.


    The Esperanto of Currency, FILET project space, by Rut Blees Luxemburg and Uta Kögelsberger, London, UK

    24/7 Business,, by Matthew Richardson, Balfron House, London, UK

    Mush shrooms, 4Cose, London


    XYZ, Augmented Reality Commission, Site Gallery, Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK

    Fields of Contention, Huddersfield Gallery, Yorkshire, UK


    A Clump of Plinths, The Lowry, Salford


    Prunes Potatoes Pears and Prisms, New Art Centre, UK 


    How They Met, Duo exhibition with Josephine Pryde featuring Ellen Cantor. Bleich Rossi Gallery, Gabriela Senn Gallery, Vienna, Austria

    Stacks Sticks Shucks Sucks, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK


    In situ Ex situ, Mount Stuart, Bute, Scotland

    Nor Wolk, Tsingou Gallery, London, UK

    Selected Group Exhibitions


    Peace Love and Anarchy equals Freedom and Fun Forever, Horse Hospital, London. Group exhibition that documents 64–65 Guilford Street, first venue for Milch Gallery established by Lauren Maben and Sarah Staton in 1989 


     THE GEO POLITICS OF MONETIZED AIRSPACE — Come Fly with Me, I Meet You by the Airside Gucci Concession at 4, Fox Fur Hat, Curated by Egija Inzule, Midway Contemporary Art, a duo exhibition with Martha Rosler. MN, USA

    House of Ferment with Karen Guthrie and Grizedale Arts,  Hauser and Wirth, Somerset. Harris Gallery, Preston, UK

    A Fair Land, Live Work, IMMA, Dublin. Grizedale Arts, Coniston Institute, Cumbria, UK

    Teesside World Exposition of Art and Technology, MIMA, Middlesbrough, Teesside, UK

    Made in Sheffield, Museums Sheffield, UK.


    FAUX AMIS, With Merlin Carpenter and Valentina Liernur, Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK;

    Tina, Yvonne Lambert, Berlin. With Nobutaka Aozaki, Nils Bech, Juliette Blightman, Croco Chanel, Manfred Erjautz, Stano Filko, Margaret Honda, Mikołaj Małek, Bonny Poon, Sarah Staton, Mitchell Syrop. Organised by Rita Vitorelli and Christian Kobald with Tenzing Barshee


    Look Out, Folkestone TriennialKent, UK

    Curated by_Vienna 2014, Curated by Egija Inzule: The Century of the Bed with Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Morag Keil, Mélanie Matranga, Bonny Poon, Josephine Pryde, Sarah Staton


    Platform: In the Making, Site Gallery, Sheffield

    Postcard Narratives, curated by Jeremy Cooper, ROOM, London


    Shorts, short film created with Karin Ruggaber; music by Konkreet Mickza, screened at Babylon Cinema, Berlin

    Parts and Labour, Divised by Brighid Lowe and John Chilvers. Camberwell Space, London, UK

    A Thing is a Thing is a Thing, The Minories, Colchester, Essex, UK

    Not Quite Mrs De Menil’s Liquor Closet, Devon Dikeou Projects, Nada, Miami


    Modernism has Two Faces, Simon Bill, with Eva Berendes, Enrico David, Karin Ruggaber, Sarah Staton. Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland


    Fifteen, Collaborative Work with Theo Burt, Haroon Mirza, Giles Round and Sarah Staton. S1 Artspace, Sheffield


    Exploring Traditions in Contemporary Design, Price Tower Arts Center, Bartelsville, OK, USA 


    How They Met, Duo exhibition with Josephine Pryde and Ellen Cantor, Bleich Rossi Gallery and Gabriela Senn Gallery, Vienna, Austria 


    kissingcousins, research exhibition with Jane Simpson. HMI, Leeds, UK

    Blickachsen, House of the Red Baron, Bad Homberg, Germany

    Artist Books and Catalogues

    Grizedale (2016) A Fairland, vol 1 Eating, IMMA Dublin and Grizedale

    Pryde, J. (2015) The Enjoyment of Photography, Kunsthalle: Bern

    Folkestone Triennial 2014 (2014) Creative Foundation 

    The Century of the Bed curated by Vienna (2014), Verlag fur Moderne Kunst 

    Cooper, J., Hughes, D., (2013) Post Card Narratives, London: ROOM Books

    Staton, S and Chiles, P. (eds.) (2012) Steve, University of Sheffield

    Abrahams, T. (ed.) (2012) Ideas Exchange the Studio of Hawkins Brown, London: Birkhauser

    Cooper, J. (2012) Artists’ Postcards: A Compendium, Reaktion Books

    Clayton, K. (2012) A thing is a thing, Colchester School of Art

    Sculptors Drawings (2012) Pangolin Press

    Staton, S. (ed.) Bussell, D. (2011) Modernism has 2 Faces, Scotland: Mount Stuart Trust (exhibition catalogue)

    Staton, S (ed.) Wigglesworth, S and Wood, J. (2010) A Clump of Plinths, The Lowry (exhibition catalogue)

    Lilley, C., Searle, A. (2008) Shucks Sucks Sticks Stacks, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (exhibition catalogue) 

    Staton, S. (ed) Curtis, P. (2007) In Situ Ex Situ, Scotland: Mount Stuart Trust (exhibition catalogue)

    Staton, S., Simpson, J., Raikes, S., (2007) kissingcousins, Leeds: HMI

    Staton, S. (ed.) Pryde, J. (2001) Anti Paintings, Art Lab (catalogue essay)

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  • Awards and Grants

  • 2013 Arts Council of England Research Grant

    2012 UK Landscape Award for Artworks at Abbey Orchard Westminster

    2011 University of Sheffield Festival of the Mind Award

    2010 NYC Type Directors Club Award. Awarded to catalogue A Clump of Plinths (designed by N. Jacek)

    2009 Lowry Centre/Transformations Commission

    2008 Arts Foundation, London, UK, Award for Sculpture

    2008 D & AD Award. Given to catalogue, Sticks, Stacks, Shucks. Sucks (published by YSP; designed by N. Jacek and tDR)

Selected work


Research interests

Research is central to Staton's practice. Her focus on materials and skills employed within specific geographical and socio-economic contexts tie each project explicitly to its site, its history and people – and is often developed in collaboration with local construction/craft professionals. Through a radical juxtaposition of the natural, artificial and synthetic, Staton's aesthetic refers to both traditional fabrication cultures; textiles, woodwork, metalwork and so on, as well as to digital culture; its screens, colours, textures and its incursions into lived time. One central trope and architectural reference has been the waiting space, a symbol of the social stasis brought on by economic downturn that inadvertently also facilitates thought and reverie. Her many iterations of this structure evoke summerhouses and pavilions as much as bus stops and departure lounges - places poised between present and future, entropy and possibility.

Current and recent research

Edith and Hans, 2016

A permanent outdoor artwork in Bristol, based on the city’s rich brick-making history. University of Bristol.

Steve, 2014

Sculptural Pavilion for the Folkestone Triennial 2014.

pea proposals, 2015

pea proposals is a research group that looks at the politics of public art. Founded in June 2015 by Sarah Staton and Demelza Watts.

instagram: peaproposals


Artist-run space programmed by Giles Round and Sarah Staton.

In 2013, THE SCHTIP held exhibitions by Jess Flood-Paddock, Florian Roithmayr, Laure Prouvost, Pelles Empire, Josephine Pryde and Cullinan Richards. 

Architectural project for Grizedale Arts

Shortlisted in open-call competition for the redesign of the Coniston Cricket Pavilion.