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_Tales from the Mountaintop
_Repulsion System for Productive Lands   
_The Smiler
_The Privilege of Acting
_Terra Asciutta  
_Engagement Rate Formula
_The New Man and my Father
_EMPTY PAGE. Protecting our own
_Glories of a Forgotten Future
_Surplus Production Line
_The Making of Forty Rectangular Pieces for a Floor Construction
_How is a Storehouse Built
_Here, everybody takes care of me
_Night Watch

         Video Archives
_Instructions from the Great Beyond
_Moments that Shaped the World (serie)
_El EXPLOTE. Statistic Department

         Drawing Series
_Department for planning and destruction of Cuban economy

_Land of Plenty
_Anechoic Room
_Covert Planning
_Productivity Control System
_The Power of the Working Class
_The Best Effort
_Dreams Production Plan for State-Run Companies
_The Value of Absence
_357.890 sqm Planned

         Photography Series
_Replacement Points
_Time to Relax

         Solo Exhibitions
_2768. 23,53. 8. 1958. 57%. 1000 (2020) 
_Land of Plenty (2018)
_Selective Memory (2018)
_Absolute silence does not exist (2017)
_EMPTY PAGE. Protecting our own (2016)
_Selected Works (2016)
_CENTRUM (2015)
_Surplus Production Line (2014)
_Time to Relax (2013)
_The Value of Absence (2013)
_STOCK (2012)
_New Production Structures (2012)


_The Value of Absence (2013)
_The Paradox of Labour - a reader to the work of Adrian Melis (2021)

         Lectures, seminars, workshops

_The Paradox of Art and Labour - Sociopolitical practices as form of artistic expressions

@ copyright Adrian Melis.
All rights reserved by the author
Last update, Nov 2023



         Adrian Melis Sosa (1985. b. Havana, Cuba) is a multidisciplinary artist, based in Cuba and Europe. 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) where his solo exhibitions in 2012 and 2013, were awarded the ‘Art Nou’ Award by the Association
of Galleries Barcelona and the ‘GAC Award’ (MACBA) for Best Exhibition in a Private Gallery, respectively. He exhibited with ADN Galería in several art fairs including ARCO Madrid, LOOP Barcelona, Art Brussels, Artissima, FIAC Officielle and VOLTA10. His work is in private and public collections, including Pori Art Museum (Finland); MAS Santander (Spain); MACBA Barcelona (Spain); Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia (Spain), Collection Patrick Chiche (Belgium); Collection Los Bragales, Jaime R. Sordo (Spain); Collection Alain Servais (Belgium); Collection Lemaître (France); Collection A. de Galbert (France) and Collection Teixeira de Freitas (Portugal).

         About Melis’s practice: 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.



Times Museum Art Residency, Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, China
Rijksakademie van Beldeende Kunsten, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
University of Arts (ISA) Havana, Cuba
Degree from the Chair of Arte Conducta, Havana, Cuba
San Alejandro, Fine Arts Academic, Havana, Cuba


‘Terra Asciutta’, curated by Chiara Pirozzi and Alessandra Troncone, Underneath the Arches - Aqueduct of Serino, Naples, Italy
‘2768. 23,53. 8. 1958. 57%. 1000’, Pori Contemporary Art Museum, Pori, Finland
‘Selective Memory’, Adn Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
‘Land of Plenty’, curated by Tamara Díaz Bringas, El Apartamento gallery, Havana, Cuba
‘Selected Works’, curated by Melanie Kress, High Line, New York, USA
‘Absolute silence does not exist’, curated by FCAYC and Denise Araouzou, Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia, León, Spain
‘Empty Page’, Kunstlehrstuhl Baden, Baden, Switzerland
‘No Admittance’, curated by Renata Cervetto, De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
‘Surplus Production Line’, ADN Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
‘The New Man’, Project Space, Centrum, Berlin, Germany
‘Time to Relax’, ADN Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
‘The Value of Absence’, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland
‘Dreams Production Plan’, EspaiDos, Terrassa, Spain
‘STOCK’, Museum of Modern Art (MAS), Santander, Spain
‘New Production Structures’, ADN Galeria, Barcelona, Spain


‘Loop Film Festival’, Adn Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
‘Reclamando el eco. Una selección de videos acerca de la música y el mas allá’, comisariado por LOOP Barcelona, Museo de la Música de Barcelona, Spain
‘8th International Çanakkale Biennial’, Çanakkale, Turkey
‘Around Video - Fair’, Hotel Moxy Lille City, France
‘No Access’ Video Art Exhibition, Viewmaster Projects Foundatio, former underground NATO Headquarters, Maastricht, The Neederlands
‘Reclamando el eco. Una selección de videos acerca de la música y el mas allá’, comisariado por LOOP Barcelona, CCMX - Mexico
‘Ghosts of the Machine’, Polygon Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

‘One song is very much like another, and the boat is always from afa’, Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, China
‘Glasgow Film Festival’, No New Normal: Absurdity of Labour’, Monitored & Alt Worlds, Glasgow, UK


‘ANESTESIA’, curated by Laura Baigorri, Loop Film Festival Barcelona, Casa Elizarde, Barcelona, Spain
‘Engagement Rate Formula’, Short Films, Rotterdam International Film Festival, (IFFR) Rotterdam, The Netherlands

‘Homeland - Borderlines’, Loop Film Festival, Damer House Gallery, Safia Art Contemporari, LOOP, and CAGE Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
Site Specific’, Carleton College, Minnesota, USA

‘Cubical Fever’, Studio Trama34, Barcelona, Spain
‘Pourquoi faire; pourquoi faire’, ETE78, Brussel, Belgium
‘5994 is just a number’, Adn Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
‘Af-Fair #2’, Studio Trama34, Barcelona, Spain
‘The Golden Age of Cuban Video Art, Cuban Cinémathèque québécoise’, Montreal, Canada
‘12 Kaunas Biennale, ‘After Leaving | Before Arriving’, curated by Elisabeth Del Prete, Daniel Milnes, Lýdia Pribišová, Neringa Stoškutė, Alessandra Troncone, Kaunas, Lithuania
‘Survival Kit’, Latvian Center for Contemporary Art, curated by Solvita Krese, Inga Lace and Ángels Miralda, Riga, Latvia
‘Anatomy of Political Melancholy’, curated by Katerina Gregos, Athens Conservatory, Greece
‘I’m always in the other’, curated by Beral Madra, Agah Uğur Collection, Museum Evliyagil, Turkey
‘No habrá nunca una puerta. Estás adentro’, Teixeira de Freitas Collection, curated by Luiza Teixeira, Sala de Arte Santander, Madrid

‘Otro amanecer en el trópico-Contemporary Cuban artistic practices’, curated by Tereza de Aruda and Abel González, Stiftung Reinbeckhallen Sammlung für Gegenwartskunst, Berlin, Germany
‘Ola Cuba’, Lille, France
‘Chi Utopia mangia le mele’, curated by Adriana Polveroni and Gabriele Tosi, Soprintendenza archeologia, belle arti e paesaggio Verona, Rovigo e Vicenza, Corte Dogana, Verona, Italy
‘Art Souterrain festival 2018’, LABOR IMPROBUS, Montreal, Canada

‘On/Off, Ciclo de artistas cubanos’, Maison Européenne de la photographie, Paris, France
‘Video Art in Latinoamerica’, Glenn Phillips (GRI) and Elena Shtromberg LAXART, Los Angeles, USA
‘Salon de Arte Contemporaneo’, CDAV, Havana, Cuba
‘Art Weekend program’, curated by Direlia Lazo, Habana, Cuba
‘You&I’, A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa
‘Image du monde laborieux’, Art Digital Center, Paris, France
‘Open Form’, curated by Denise Araouzou, Athens, Greece
‘Post-Peace’, curated by Katia Krupennikova, Nest, The Hague, Netherlands Ciutat de Vacances, Museu de Art Modern I Contemporani de Palma
‘Rumors of Glory’, Basis, Frankfurt, Germany
‘Videocreation in Cuba’, curated by Emma S. Barrientos, Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin TX
‘Post-Peace’, Curated by Katia Krupennikova, Würtembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Germany
‘First Day of Good Weather, Latin American Art’, Coceived by Despacio, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf, Germany
‘Belief in the power of Gesture’, Projektraum LS44, Berlin, Germany
‘Valor de Uso’, Centro Wilfredo Lam, curated by Danielo Villegas and Laura de la Colina, Havana, Cuba
‘Post-Peace’, curated by Katia Krupennikova, Kunstverein Stuttgart, Germany
‘Intérims (Art contre emploi)’, La Panaceé, Montpellier, France

‘Connecting Cuba’, De Balie, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
‘Todas las vidas’, X Bienal Centroamericana, San José, Costa Rica
‘Crisis of Presence’, curated by Luigi Fassi, Pori Art Museum, Pori, Finland
‘The Agony and the Ecstasy: Latin American art in the collections of Mallorca: a review based on Contemporaneity’, curated by Nekane Aramburu, Es Baluard Museu d’ Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
‘Teesside World Exposition of Art and Technology’, MIMA, Middlesbrough, UK
‘No One Belongs Here More Than You’, Despacio, San José, Costa Rica
‘Yes I can!’, curated by Sébastien Planas, Centre d’ art contemporain Walter Benjamin, Perpignan, France
‘MACBA Collection31’, MACBA, Barcelona, Spain.
‘Untitled (two takes on crisis)’, De Appel Arts Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands
‘Groupe Mobile’, curated by Mélanie Bouteloup & Virginie Bobin, VilleVassilieff, Paris, France

‘Kamarado’, co-curated by Zasha Colah, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai & New Delhi, India
‘Hors Pistes: Une autre mouvement des images - L’art de la révolte’, curated by Geraldine Gomez, Centre Pompidou, Málaga, Spain
‘Hors Pistes: Une autre mouvement des images - L’art de la révolte’, curated by Geraldine GomezCentre Pompidou, Paris, France
‘Experiencias 6’, Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporaneo de Santander, Santander, Spain
‘International Film Festival Rotterdam 2016’, Rotterdam, Netherlands
‘Bread and Roses’, MOMA Museum of Modern Art of Warsaw, Poland

‘CPH: MARKET’, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark
‘Creating Common Good’, curated by Robert Punkenhofen in coopertaion with Zaida Trallero and Ursula Maria Probst, Vienna Art Week, Viena, Austria
‘Kamarado’, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
‘The as-if-principle’, curated by Sabine Winkler, Magazin4–Bregenzer Kunstverein, Bregnez, Austria
‘Tener que Sentir’, Colección Los Bragales Arte Contemporáneo, Gijón, Spain
‘Tedium Vitae: On Mediation’, ADN Platform, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona
‘La distancia adequada’, curated by Alexandra Laudo, Fundació Suñol, Barcelona, Spain

‘Popposition OFF-Fair’ (Servais collection), Brussels, Belgium
‘O que você vê nao o que você percebe’, Emma Thomas Gallery, Sao Paolo, Brasil
‘Atopolis’, Manège de Sury, supported by the WIELS contemporary art centre Mons, Belgium
‘Engagements’, Poitiers Museum, Poitiers, France
‘Everything Was Forever: Until It Was No More’, Akinici Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

‘Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities’, MoMA, New York, USA
‘RijksakademieOPEN’, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
‘Permanent Playfullness’, curated by Camilla Barella, Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, Brasil
‘10th Shanghai Biennale’, curated by Anselm Franke, Shanghai, China
‘Forms of Distancing’, Steirischer Herbst festival, Graz, Austria
‘Future Generation Art Prize’, Pinchuk Art Center, Kiev, Ukraine
In Search of Lost Time’, curated by Ronit Eden, Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
‘Economie Humaine’, HEC École des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Paris, France
‘Frestes - Trienal de Artes de Brasil’, Sorocaba, Sâo Paulo, Brasil.

‘Barcelona Inspira’, Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc, Barcelona, Spain
‘Ibi et Nunc: Sobre paradójicas democráticas’, curated by Imma Prieto, Fabra i Coats Centre d’Art Contemporary, Barcelona, Spain
‘Activaciones’, Neue Gallerie, curated by Karin Jaschkem Innsbruck, Austria
‘Habitar, Construir, Pensar. Poéticas y perspectivas discursivas en el Videoarte Cubano Contemporáneo (2000-2012)’, Havana, Cuba

‘Espacio de Creación Contemporánea ECCO’, curated by Dennys Matos and Iván de la Torre, Amerighi Cádiz, Spain

‘Group Show’, D+T Project Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
‘Occupying Building, Thinking: Poetic and Discursive Perspectives on Contemporary Cuban Video Art (1990-2010)’, University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FL
‘Jetztzeit’, Centre d’Art la Panera, Lleida, Spain
‘In the heart of the country’, The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland EspaiDos, Terrasa, Spain
‘Artlab’, Queens Museum of Art, New York
‘Casa Solleric’, Fundació Palma, Espai d’Art, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

‘Fuck Off o pá la pinga con todo’, Bienal de la Habana, La Habana, Cuba
‘Arte40 Prize’, selected artists. c arte c, Centro Arte Complutense, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

‘Arte Útil’, curated by Tania Bruguera y DEMOCRACIA Off Limits, Madrid, Spain
‘Experience Pommery #9 - La Fabrique sonore’, Domaine Pommery, Reims, France.
‘Auditorium Moscow, A Sketch for a Public Space’, Belie Palaty, Moscow, Russia
‘Somewhere Else’, curated by Direlia Lazo, Galeria Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, Spain

‘How To Work (More for) Less’, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland
‘How To Work’, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland
‘Temor y deseo de ser devorados’, Bòlit Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Girona, Spain

‘XXXI Bienal de Pontevedra’, Universidad de Vigo, Vigo, Spain
‘Urban Research’, Festival Directors Lounge, Berlin, Germany
‘II Festival Internacional Cine Cubano de Munich’, Munich, Germany
‘Residencias Batiscafo’, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, La Habana, Cuba
‘Per Diem’, Betonsalon, Paris, France
‘Atmósfera’, Teatro Bertold Brecht, La Habana, Cuba
‘Factoría Habana 10 bienal de La Habana’, La Factoría, La Habana, Cuba
‘ Evento teórico 10 bienal de La Habana’, I.S.A., La Habana, Cuba

‘Arte, salud y sociedad, 10 bienal de La Habana’, Hospital psiquiátrico de La Habana, La Habana, Cuba
‘Estado de excepción’, 10 bienal de La Habana, Galería Habana, La Habana, Cuba
‘ Octava muestra de nuevos realizadores’, ICAIC, La Habana, Cuba

Presentación de audiovisuales’, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Cordoba, Argentina
‘Video experimental y video arte: Artistas de Cuba’, Museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia

‘Curadores go home’, Espacio Aglutinador, La Habana, Cuba
‘Inventarios’, Fundación Ludwig de Cuba, La Habana, Cuba
‘Le Fresnoy Habana Remix’, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, Cuba
‘ 7ma Muestra de Jóvenes Realizadores’, La Habana, Cuba

‘El Reparto, galería Ciudades del Mundo’, La Habana, Cuba

‘Socialist Movements’, Beijing Biennale, Beijing, China
‘Inventarios’, Fundación Ludwing de Cuba, Havana, Cuba
‘Bueno, Bonito y Barato’, CLOSE-UP, Mexico City, Mexico
‘Ni a favor ni en contra’, Facultad de artes y Letras, Havana, Cuba
‘Rescribible’, Arte de Conducta workshop, house of Tania Bruguera, Havana, Cuba

‘Bueno, Bonito y Barato’, private house, Havana, Cuba
‘Presentation to the 9th Bienal de la Habana’, Arte de Conducta workshop, house of Tania Bruguera, Havana, Cuba


Around Video, Adn Galeria, Hotel Moxy Lille City, Lille, France

LOOP ART FAIR, Adn Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
ARCO, Adn Galeria, Madrid, Spain
ArtBrussels, Adn Galeria, Brussels, Belgium
LOOP ART FAIR, Adn Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
ARCO, Adn Galeria, Madrid, Spain
FIAC Officielle Art Fair, Adn Galeria, Paris, France
Artissima Art Fair, Adn Galeria, Turín, Italy
ArtBrussels, Adn Galeria, Brussels, Belgium
ARCO, Adn Galeria, Madrid, Spain
Untitled, Adn Galeria, Miami, USA
Artissima Art Fair, ADN Galeria, Turín, Italy
ArtRio, Adn Galeria, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
VOLTA10, Adn Galeria, Basel, Switzerland
LOOP, Adn Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
ARCO, Adn Galeria, Madrid, Spain
ArtBrussels, Adn Galeria, Brussels, Belgium
ARCO, Adn Galeria, Madrid, Spain
LOOP, Adn Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
SWAB Adn Galeria, Madrid, Spain


Art Nou by Abe (Association of Galleries from Barcelona), Barcelona, Spain
Award GAC for the best exhibition in 2012 in a private gallery, Barcelona, Spain
Bueno, Bonito y barato project awarded by Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, Spanish Embassy, Cuba


Pori Art Museum, Finland
MAS Santander, Spain
MACBA Barcelona, Spain
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej – Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland Collection Morra Greco, Naples, Italy
Collection Patrik Chiche, Belgium
Collection los Bragales, Jaime R. Sordo, Spain
Collection Alain Servais, Belgium
Collection Lemaître, France
Collection Kadist, France
Collection A. de Galbert, France
Collection Teixeiras da Freitas, Portugal


Jerome Sans and Laura Salas Redondo, “Cuba Talks, interview to 28 Cuban artist”, 2019, Rizzoli Editoriale.
Nathalie Desmet, “In search of unproductive time”, Esse, Travail/Labour, (Issue 94, Fall), 2018. Ed.
Friederike Sigler, Whitechapel: “Documents of Contemporary Art, WORK”. London: Whitechapel Gallery, The MIT Press, 2017.
Exhibition Catalogue Ed. Nicolas Bourriaud, “INTERIMS: Art for employment”, Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2017.
Exhibition Catalogue “Frestas Trienal de artes 2014-2015”, São Paulo: SESC, 2016. Mailyn Machado, “Fuera de revoluciones. Dos décadas de arte en Cuba”. Leiden: Almenara, 2016
Exhibition Catalogue Eds. Raphael Pirenne, Sebastien Biset, “ATOPOLIS”, Brussels: WIELS, (sic), 2015.
Exhibition Catalogue Eds. Dario Cimorelli, “ENGAGEMENTS: Collectionner/ Partage”, Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2015.
Exhibition Catalogue Eds. Stefano Collicelli Cagol, Luigi Fassi and Steirischer Herbst, “Forms of Distancing: Representative Politics and the Politics of Representation”, Milan: Mousse Publishing, 2014.
Artist Catalogue: Adrian Melis - “The Value of Absence”. Barcelona:
ADN Galeria, 2013
Catalogue: Adrian Melis - “Dreams Production Plan by State-Run companies in Cuba”. Barcelona: ADN Galeria, 2013
Article: Direlia Lazo, “Adrian Melis: From Havana to Kunsthalle”, Art Nexus, (No. 85, Volume 11), 2012