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Adrian Melis Sosa
The making of forty rectangular pieces for a floor construction (Elaboración de 40 piezas rectangulares para la construcción de un piso)

In Cuba, due to the lack of materials, workers of state-owned construction companies must remain at work without doing anything, waiting for the end of the working day. Interested in this phenomenon, Adrian Melis asked the workers of a construction company to reproduce the sounds and noises characteristic of their work. The making of forty rectangular pieces for a floor construction is the recording of a “work performance” during a day from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon. Each of the workers imitates the sounds typical of their productive tasks, such as the noise of the concrete mixer, the shovels, the trucks and the wheelbarrows. With humor and irony, the artist criticizes a habitual situation in the Cuban political regime.

Adrian Melis’s work is committed to presenting the range of intensity and nuance of human energy embodied through acts of resistance, resilience, and productivity. From industrial working bodies to voting, social, or political powers in places like Cuba and Europe, the shifting international frameworks of socioeconomic circumstances and other issues affecting the human condition are some of the driving forces behind Melis’s often absurd or ironic methods of making. Through simple gestures and acts of appropriation, Melis challenges generally accepted theories of work, power, and productivity with ideas of remembering, rest, celebration, and other traditionally “non-productive” actions. Melis draws from issues of unemployment, bureaucratic inefficiency, corporate as well as political corruption as he creates mechanisms in which third parties’ experiences and stories are integrated in the production or execution of his work. His works take the form of photography, video and installations. His methodology instills within works ironic and absurd qualities, meanwhile allowing for elements of absence, either formal or symbolic to manifest. Inspired by the lack of motivation and productivity in Cuba, Melis also experiments with creating feasible temporary employment opportunities both at home and in Europe.