Adam Leech The Guide


During the period 2020-2021 Adam Leech was a resident artist at S.M.A.K. He concludes his trajectory with this exhibition, 'The Guide'.

Adam Leech’s (b. 1973, San Diego, CA) oeuvre is characterised by a fascination with the human spirit. His work explores different forms of consciousness and the way they produce experiences, emotions and relationships. During his residency, he attempted to understand these subjective processes in relation to observing art in a museum context. To this end, Leech conducted conversations within all of S.M.A.K.’s teams and its board. He simultaneously corresponded with academics and experts in psychology, neuroscience, philosophy and the occult. In this way, he created a polyphonous field acquiring knowledge about aesthetic experiences while also deriving meaning from its immeasurability.

‘The Guide’ comprises a series of paintings and a video work. It is an exhibition that evokes astonishment with regard to human physiology, the psyche and perception. It seeks to stimulate self-scrutiny and speculatively ‘guides’ the viewer through scientific theses, empirical findings and myths towards an awareness of his or her condition. During his residency, Leech also created an unconventional visitor’s guide in the form of a series of YouTube tutorials, as well as developing a psychological experiment into the museum experience in collaboration with the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Ghent University.

A series of tutorials

Via a video series, Adam Leech is devising a manual that visitors can use to make their experience in S.M.A.K. funnier, richer and more unconventional. The artist appropriates the aesthetics and vulgarising tone of YouTube tutorials and completely breaks open the popular medium by also sharing his doubts, emotions and existential questions about his practice. This pseudo-educational trip connects camp with open source and ensures that a museum visit will never be the same again! This is a co-production with S.M.A.K.

An introduction to Adam Leech, the S.M.A.K. Artist in Residence 2020-2021:

A deconstruction of what constitutes a museum experience through the eyes of the artist:

Adam Leech emphasizes the importance of different forms of consciousness and how during a museum visit you are definitely not in a lifeless, comatose or dreamless state.

Adam Leech introduces the 'Hard Problem of Consciousness'. Find out how he will incorporate this concept of the Australian philosopher David Chalmers into a new painting.

Adam Leech notes that subjective experiences can only be partially explained by a physical measurement of reality. His intuitions are confirmed by the 'Explanatory Gap' theory of philosopher Joseph Levine.

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