Sabrina Melis

Milan (1986)

Sabrina Melis in Sutrio. Ph. Federico Gallo.

Sabrina Melis is an Italian artist and designer. Thematically, her work focuses on human habitation, interweaving scientific and artistic research. An analysis of uses, habits, human passage through physical or virtual spaces, and their purpose is the artist’s starting point for exploring this universal movement. In her work, fiction is a tool used to combine facts and hard information with hypotheses of reality through the use of different media. The artist has a particular interest in video and installation.

“Two hours embedded in the full days, leaving behind narratives, intertwined memories, stories of love and hardship.”

The exhibition

“La sera, dalle 7 alle 9”

curated by Eva Comuzzi

Her project draws inspiration from an archive of about 3,500 plates belonging to the School of Applied Drawing for Arts and Industries, an all-male institute that was active in the small town of Sutrio from the end of the nineteenth century until 1966. The mostly technical drawings are studies for woodworking, a craft for which Sutrio is renowned. Many of the students later became carpenters. Sabrina Melis has reproduced these archival drawings, with their angular shapes, on a larger scale. Her work is fluid and dynamic: the arrangement of the objects can vary, and each piece is intended to be a performer who acts out different situations, whether invented or real. Between the wooden slots is a monitor that transmits image reproductions of some of the environments. These spaces were virtually reconstructed via descriptions in the themes, such as those titled ‘Come arrederei la mia cameretta’ (How I would furnish my room). The installation is activated automatically every evening at 7 and shuts off at 9pm, the time when lessons were held at the drawing school.

The village

Sutrio, Friuli-Venezia Giulia

46°30’46.5″N 12°59’34.9″E

The village of Borgo Sutrio. Courtesy: the municipality of Sutrio.

The municipality of Sutrio, which consists of the main town along with the hamlets of Priola and Nojaris, is located at an altitude of about 570 meters in the Bût valley, the historical valley of Carnia. Due to its position, it has been a natural communication channel between the Mediterranean and the transalpine worlds since prehistoric times. The local woodworking tradition has been well documented since 1700, when chests of drawers, tables, chairs and ottomans crafted Sutrio’s workshops were used to decorate the homes of Venetian and Udine nobles. Since the mid-nineteenth century, woodworking here has also included other types of furniture, fixtures and coatings.

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