Milena, Jarosław, Poland, 2013, 2014

Photo: Jens Ziehe

Three framed chromogenic prints
Each 128.8 x 103.3 cm, framed

Sharon Lockhart's most recent body of work revolves around conditions of childhood. The project was inspired in part by the life and work of Polish-Jewish pedagogue Janus Korczak, whose radical philosophies were among the first to empower the often-disregarded voice of the child. At the heart of Lockhart's work is her collaboration and friendship with a young Polish woman named Milena, whom she first befriended in 2009 during the production of her film Podwórka in Łódź, Poland. Notably absent from the final cut of the film, the then nine-year-old Milena brought a strong presence to the other children playing in the film's courtyards, taking on a role as a sort of impromptu director and leading her peers through each carefully composed frame. Emerging from a broken home, Milena has lived in various state residences. Lockhart's longterm work with Milena has mapped the trajectory of a small girl's maturation into an adolescent and now young adult, servingas a site of mutual discovery and revelation. Their collaboration has been the subject of a dedicated exhibitionthat traveled from the Center of Contemporary Art, Warsaw, to Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm and Kunstmuseum Luzern. The three images that make up Milena, Jarosław, (2013/2014) share an identical composition, with thirteen-year-old Milena seated at a domestic table in three slightly varied poses. Partially obscuring her face, Milena controls her own visibility across the triptych. As three separate pictures, the work paces a gradual reveal of Milena as well as the interaction between her, the camera and the viewer, exposing the multifarious act of looking that is embedded within the practice of photography and eliciting key questions for Lockhart such as how do we see, within what frame, and determined by whom?

*1964 in Norwood, USA | Living and working in Los Angeles, USA