Key facts about the artist

Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence
Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence (2012)

Has undertaken collaborations with Psychkick Dancehall and Guiseppe Mistretta
Graduate Fellowship
Glasgow Sculpture Studios 2010
Lives and works
Won the inaugural Margaret Tait Residency (2012)
Works with
Video, object making, writing, performance and installation


About Sarah's work

Sarah Forrest’s practice incorporates video, writing, object making and performance presented in a variety of forms including gallery based installations, single screen presentations in cinemas and exhibitions, publications and readings or performances. Literature plays a significant role in her practice. The influence of theory, fiction and philosophy manifests itself visually in the videos and installations that she makes, however it is in the written components (often spoken word narration) where this can be seen more explicitly. Her most recent work I Left it on Page 32 (2013, commissioned by CCA) sought to address this relationship with literature directly by turning to a book, Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea: a fiction picked up and forced to participate in her work. The story itself shaped the work. Written as a series of journal entries detailing a man’s unsettled relationship with reality, (his inability to maintain his sense of self, words no longer corresponding to the objects they name) Sartre used this character to perform his own existentialist philosophy. This approach where questions, ideas or concepts are ‘put into play’ through the work is central to Sarah’s own practice.

I left it on Page 32 sees the artist, Sarah Forrest, attempt to get to know Sartre’s protagonist Antoine. His lack of reciprocation leads her to attempt the impossible and insert herself between the pages of the book.

Her initial aim with this work was to look at the fictional qualities of the self with regards to the personal narratives that shape our lives. If the self is a fiction then who is the author and can it be re-written? As the work developed this question unravelled. She began to consider the limitations within language, and where we are positioned by it: within, alongside, before, after: looking at the impossibility of ever being fully presented by representation. It looked to the internal space of reading, writing and its relationship to film. The resulting work is a 21 minute HD video installed as two large projections. The gallery walls are painted green and some of the furniture and objects from the film are set up in the gallery. Other than one specific scene, the differences between the two projections is subtle so could easily be missed. This doubling considers the mirroring of reality in film or writing; building upon the work’s questioning of where reality ends and its representation begins. Does reality begin when we put down the book?

Her practice operates on a project-to-project basis, with each new work setting out to explore a particular theme, question or concern. The development of ideas, however, can be traced from work to work and are built upon, as are her practical working methods.


Sarah Forrest (born Dundee, 1981) lives and works in Glasgow, she graduated from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee (BA Hons Fine Art) in 2003 and the Glasgow School of Art (MFA) in 2010. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include (solo): Sarah Forrest, Supplement, London, 2014; Two solo shows, CCA Glasgow (with Mounira Al Solh), 2013; Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence, Supplement, London, 2012; P is for Protagonist, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, 2011; (group) I will wear a fabric guise / I will wear a plastic guise, with Victor and Hester and Virginia Hutchison, Dog Park, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2014; A Word on a Tree Like a Body as a Thing, curated by Federica Bueti for Open Systems, 2013; Next to Perplexed you, curated by Jan Verwoert, Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna, 2013; You Blink at the Plughole, M.E.X.I.C.O, Leeds, 2013; that now, City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand 2013; unsmoothmaking, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, 2013; Playing with undead things, Kortrijk, Belgium, 2012; Magic Love Trade Objects, Art Geneve, Geneva, 2012.