Sharon Lockhart

Sharon Lockhart

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art

Janusz Korczak, How to Love a Child, 1960. Braille edition, published by the Polish Association of the Blind, Warsaw. Photo: © Cayetano Ferrer.

May 18, 2013

Sharon Lockhart
18 May–18 August 2013

Opening: 17 May 2013, 6pm

Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle
ul. Jazdów 2 
00-467 Warsaw, Poland

Curated by Adam Budak

The Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle is proud to present MILENA, MILENA, the first solo exhibition and screening program in Poland of American artist, Sharon Lockhart.

Lockhart’s filmic and photographic work is a psychological study of communities, individuals, and their everyday, antiheroic activities of life, labor and leisure. Engaged yet markedly without emotion, Lockhart’s “documentary theater” captures rare moments of human vulnerability where authenticity and spontaneity are challenged by her own long-term commitment and research as well as a desire to choreograph particular situations and behaviors. Both her photographs and films are tableaux of space and time, inhabited by nature and people in harmony and discord. With a disarming subtlety, Lockhart unveils the striking beauty of the ordinary and the unique dimension of the world we live in, touching upon the fundamental philosophical récit of human existence and condition. Carefully measured and registered, each moment unfolds in real time; yet, precisely identified space turns abstract, phantasmagorical and non-defined; the characters, singular or collective, named or anonymous, become mythologized and uplifted. Her photographic works and architectural film installations are the result of extensive field work where anthropological, ethnographic and sociological research give way to a studied structure and composed image.

The exhibition MILENA, MILENA in the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle includes a series of strategically selected identifications that claim the biographical dimension of Sharon Lockhart’s oeuvre. Thus the exhibition operates as an actual portrait as well as a projection, an expression of intentional and suggestive thinking, an imaginary identity’s quest and desire. As such, it is framed by two works of a strong biographical component: MILENA, MILENA opens with the impressive cinematic tour de force Double Tide (2009)—shot in the native landscape of Maine where Lockhart spent her childhood—and concludes with the rarely exhibited series Untitled Studies (1993–ongoing), Lockhart’s photographic diary, composed of re-photographed snapshots found in her own family album, a self-meditation. At the center of the exhibition’s narrative is Milena, an enigmatic figure who remains disquietly absent, distilling the different threads of identification in her very non-presence.

Sharon Lockhart befriended Milena for the first time while working on the 2009 film Podworka in Lodz. Podworka is an uncanny document of the microcosmic world and social order that rules Lodz’s courtyards. It is in the spatial void of the courtyard where children gather on the way home that the utterance MILENA, MILENA is articulated and echoed. As an exhibition, MILENA, MILENA is both an affectionate beckoning (the parents’ call for the child to return home) as well as a poetic gesture of appreciation, an artistic tribute. Though the now 14-year-old girl does not appear in the film, her presence and charisma during production contributed significantly to Podworka‘s evocative power and resonance. The exhibition’s poster portrays Milena as photographed by Lockhart in a spontaneous snapshot during the artist’s recent revisit to Lodz. In it, the various gestures of Lockhart’s exhibition at the Castle are accumulated: the refused act of looking, abused innocence and modesty, the potentiality of future dreams, and, last but not least, the desire for one’s own story. Containing within it a narrative yet to come, MILENA, MILENA also acts as an announcement: co-commissioned by the Castle and Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Lockhart will complete a new film work that will premiere during the exhibition’s presentation in Stockholm in spring 2014. A driving force for the new script is the theoretical writing of Polish-Jewish educator, children’s author and pediatrician Janusz Korczak (1878–1942), which Lockhart will include in the exhibition with a conceptual display of How to Love a Child in Braille.

The exhibition as a spatial construct relies on a complex architectural intervention conceived together with the LA-based architectural office EscherGuneWardena, Lockhart’s ongoing collaborators. The exhibition design reflects the poetry and subtlety of the artist’s work and corresponds to the given geometrical sensitivity of the castle’s ground floor north wing. This rarified, site-specific architecture initiates a series of intimate conversations between a selection of photographic and filmic works spanning the artist’s career.

Sharon Lockhart was born in 1964 in Norwood, Massachusetts. She studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions with solo presentations at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2006), Secession, Vienna (2008), The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2011), The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2012), and TBA21 (2012), among others. In 1999, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam (1999) presented a survey exhibition that subsequently traveled to the Kunsthalle Zürich and the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in 2000. A second survey exhibition was shown at the MCA Chicago and MCA San Diego in 2001. Lockhart is the recipient of numerous awards as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council. She lives and works in Los Angeles, where she is Associate Professor at Roski School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California.

The exhibition MILENA, MILENA coincides with the 10 Planet + Doc Film Festival, whose program features two of Lockhart’s groundbreaking films, as follows:

May 14, 7pm
Kinoteka, Palace of Culture and Science
Sharon Lockhart, Teatro Amazonas, 1999
Special screening followed by a conversation between the artist and Adam Budak

May 18, 2pm
Iluzjon Cinema
Sharon Lockhart, Goshogaoka, 1997

Additionally, Kino.Lab, the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle’s own cinema, presents the following series of Sharon Lockhart’s films in “conversations” with the work of John Cassavetes and James Benning:

June 15, 6pm
Sharon Lockhart, Pine Flat, 2005

July 13, 6pm
Sharon Lockhart, Khalil, Shaun, A Woman Under the Influence, 1994
John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence, 1974

August 17, 6pm
Sharon Lockhart, , 2003 
James Benning, Two Cabins, 2011
James Benning, Twenty Cigarettes, 2011

The exhibition catalogue will be co-published by the Castle, Bonniers Konsthall, and Silvana Editoriale and will include texts from Milena’s diary as well as essays by, amongst others, Lynne Cooke, Maia Gianakos and Adam Budak.

Lockhart’s works in the exhibition are courtesy the artist, neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels, and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. The Castle would like to extend special thanks to neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

CCA Press Office,
T 48 22 625 05 22 / biuroprasowe [​at​]

Sharon Lockhart at Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle
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