St. Moritz Art Film Festival


Conversation: Leah Gordon & Adam Szymczyk

Leah Gordon (born 1959) is a British photographer, artist, curator, writer and filmmaker.
Her work explores the intervolved and intersectional histories of the Caribbean plantation system, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the Enclosure Acts and the creation of the British working-class. She has made various work in Haiti, such as the photographs of Kanaval, which was published in 2021 by Here Press and exhibited at the New Art Exchange, Nottingham in 2012; and the documentary film Kanaval: A People's History of Haiti in Six Chapters (2022, with Eddie Hutton-Mills).
"I turn to Marx as a poet, rather than an economist, to give me any hope for the past. The turbulences of the epochal capitalist accumulations of the 18th and 19th centuries help me to gather an internationalist understanding of where we find ourselves in the 21st century. I feel we suspected the Modern as a slick mediator of capitalist expansion far too late. Modernism's relation to architecture; the intervolved histories of the slave trade, the enclosures, and the industrial revolution; grassroots religious, class and folk histories; and the proliferation of informal economies ground me. I scour back through time to unearth quasi-utopic pasts and depend on proxy histories from pre-grain societies, esoteric rituals, alchemical processes, collective bargaining and revolutionary narratives to garner scraps of salvation. I see no futures only the past. Haiti is my sole speculative."

Adam Szymczyk is a curator and writer based in Zurich. He is Curator-at-Large at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He is a member of the board of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and a member of the advisory committee of the Kontakt Art Collection in Vienna, where he also teaches a seminar “Undoing Landscape” at the Akademie der bildenden Künste. He was Artistic Director of documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel in 2017 and served as Director and Chief Curator at Kunsthalle Basel between 2003 and 2014, where he curated, among other exhibitions, Artur Żmijewski, 2005; Gustav Metzger: In Memoriam and Lee Lozano: Win First Dont Last Win Last Dont Care, both 2006; Micol Assaël: Chizhevsky Lessons, 2007; Alexandra Bachzetsis: Show, 2008; Danh Vo: Where the Lions Are, 2009; Moyra Davey: Speaker Receiver, 2010; How to Work/How to Work (More for) Less and Sung Hwan Kim: Line Wall, both 2011; Pamela Rosenkranz: Feeding, Fleeing, Fighting, Reproduction, 2012; Michel Auder, 2013; Naeem Mohaiemen: Prisoners of Shotik Itihash, 2014. He was a co-founder of the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw in 1997. In 2008 he co-curated, with Elena Filipovic, the 5th berlin biennial for contemporary art. In 2011, he was a recipient of the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement at the Menil Foundation in Houston.