The Value of Absence – Excuses to be Absent From your Workplace
2012, Video installation, 10 minutes 12 seconds, desk, images, documentation, monitor
Cuba’s socialist system has led to indifference, demotivation and dissatisfaction in the workplace. Employees avoid work by making excuses and, surprisingly, state-run enterprises tolerate this behaviour. Adrian Melis approached employees and offered to pay them for their excuses. He asked them to record their phone calls to their boss to justify their absence. For each excuse, Melis paid the worker an amount equal to what was deducted from their salary for being off work. In this way, the artist formed a community of people receiving exactly the same amount of money as the state would have paid them for being productive, but without them having to perform any productive tasks.
Courtesy of ADN Galería in Barcelona.
Adrian Melis― Artist
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).