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Adrian Melis

Selected Works

November 2017 – January 2018

On the High Line at 14th St.

November 23, 2017 – January 17, 2018
Daily beginning at 4 pm

Adrian Melis (b. 1985 Havana, Cuba) makes intimate and sometimes heartbreaking videos about the history and contemporary realities of Cuba as lived inside the minds of its citizens. Through the use of text captions, environmental sounds, humor, and simple scenes, Melis narrates topics that could otherwise become overly sentimental or didactic – including labor, resources, and politics, including the imagined future of Cuba since the change in U.S. policy in 2015.

Glories of a forgotten future (2016) is a collaboration with elderly Cuban women, whom the artist asked to recall their youth through a song, picturing themselves in a club or ballroom from the affluent period in Cuba before the revolution – a time in their lives when they thought their future would have been bright and glorious. In The New Man and my father (2015), the artist conducts a silent interview with his father about recent events that marked a change in the history of Cuba and its new relations with the West. The Making of forty rectangular pieces for a floor construction (2008) workers in a state-run factory imitate the sounds of their usual workday – such as concrete makers, mixing machines, shovels, trucks, wheelbarrows. The video illustrates the fact that, due to a shortage of materials to produce, the workers of a state-run enterprise spend their workday just sitting, waiting for their working time to come to an end.

Organized by Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.

Image: Adrian Melis, Glories of a forgotten future, 2016. HD video, color, sound; 11 minutes, 30 seconds. Courtesy of the artist and ADN Galeria

Artist bio

Adrian Melis (b. 1985, Havana, Cuba) lives and works in Barcelona and Athens. Recent solo exhibitions have been featured at the Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia, León, Spain (2017); Kunstlehrstuhl Baden, Baden, Switzerland (2017); and de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2016). Notable group exhibitions featuring his work have been presented at LAXART, Los Angeles (2017); Es Baluard Museu d´Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2016); MACBA, Barcelona, Spain (2016); Centre Pompidou, Málaga, Spain and Paris, France (2016); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2015); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014). Melis’s work has been featured in major biennials including X Bienal Centroamericana, San José, Costa Rica (2016); 10th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2014); XXXI Bienal de Pontevedra, Universidad de Vigo, Vigo, Spain (2010); and Bienal de la Habana, Havana, Cuba (2012 and 2006).


Major support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. and The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston. Additional funding is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.