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Adrian Melis

Artist Talk 

November 25th, 2021, 7pm

an event in collaboration with Index Freiraum Stipendium

Adrian Melis, Terra Asciutta, 2020


Adrian Melis Sosa (1985. b. Havana, Cuba) is a multidisciplinary artist, based in Cuba and Europe. In his talk he will present an overview of his practice and discuss current projects, including the work he started developing during his residency in Zürich in October 2021 (Index Freiraum Stipendium). 

Having being exposed to two completely different socio-economic systems, Europe and Cuba, Melis observes how these two distinct societies generate and function, with all their inherent contradictions. Specifically, he looks at the different concepts of “labour” within both market systems and how ideologies interfere with it, which as a result affect not only the economy but also the social fabric and behaviours.

Melis was raised during the collapse of the socialist economic model in Cuba. As a consequence through his practice he began creating absurd production structures utilising art as a tool to create the illusion of productivity in a totally unproductive system. With that conclusion, he realises that in a nonproductive system the concept of being productive is more closely related to art than reality itself. It is in this paradoxical way of understanding Labour where he situates the core of his practice.

At the same time, his interest in the relation between Labour and Art is activated through disciplines and stimuli he gathers from: anthropological studies, politics, journalism, behavioural psychology, statistics and economics to give shape to his interpretation of a variety of concepts that include gainful unemployment, absurd bureaucratic and corrupt systems, political silences, the materialization of absence, inmaterial labour, creative destruction and obsessive repetition.

About the artist: Between 2005 and 2010, Melis studied printmaking at the University of Arts in Havana. During this period, his artistic practice was shaped by the intensive program ‘Catedra of Behavioural Art’ directed by artist internationally-acclaimed artist Tania Bruguera. He is a former resident of the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten of Amsterdam (2014/2015). He is currently teaching at Berlin Art Institute, Berlin, Germany. He has exhibited in several museums and institutions including, among others at Kunsthalle Basel (Basel, Switzerland); Museum of Modern Art of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland); Wiels Brussels (Belgium); Centre Pompidou (Paris, France); Pinchuk Art Center (Kyiv, Ukraine); Pori Art Museum (Pori, Finland); De Appel Center (Amsterdam, The Netherlands); Queens Museum (NY, USA), Rotterdam Film Festival (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and the 10th Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai, China). Since 2010 he is represented by ADN Galería (Barcelona, Spain)

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