Klodian Deda

Klodian Deda

The interest of his work, Klodian tells me, is the human
being as an object and subject. Indeed, the human is quite often present in his
work, whether implied or imaginary. One of his most powerful pieces (I think)
is Nomadic (2008), which was
presented as part of the ArtKontakt Festival in 2008. The title refers to all
human beings, who wander and roam about this earth, looking for a place,
whether near or far. The artist used chairs to represent this wandering. At
first, this seemed ironic to me. A chair, after all, is something that is
stable and solid. Unless it has wheels, it doesn’t move. It does, however, have
legs. And the artist has used the chair because it immediately implies a human
presence. What else, after all, is it there for, other than for a human being
to sit in? This tension between sitting and moving, present and absent, is
precisely what I think makes this work so compelling.

Another piece that gives this sense of both presence and
absence is Reflection in the Park.
Klodian commented on the fact that parks are hardly used any more for their
original purpose, quite often they are empty or abandoned, no longer gathering
places for people. In this work he populates a city park with people, or the
semblance of people, by dressing the trees in used clothing. Once again, the
tree is a solid, staid, immobile object, yet is dressed like a human being that
could suddenly walk away. While in some ways this work brings the park to life,
it also marks the absence of people in the park, because the clothes do not
cover a human being beneath that can laugh and scream and skip away.

XXXL is more than
what it appears, at first glance. At first glance it is a gigantic bra strapped
onto an old building. But, as its title might suggest, it is much more than
that. The building is located in Venice, and is part of a cultural center for
young artists. The city was planning on demolishing these old buildings to
develop the area into a fancy hotel. XXXL
was Klodian’s artistic protest and statement of solidarity with the artists,
who wanted to keep the building for themselves. What else does a bra do, but
support? In placing the bra on the building, Klodian offers his support for his
fellow artists. A bra is also something private, which hides something even
more private, and for these artists, this private space was very dear to them,
and, in their view, not the business of the city authorities to invade and
violate. Like the chairs, the empty bra also suggests a human absence, and what
might be lost if the building is destroyed.

XXXL was an
intervention into a situation over which the artists felt they had little
control, and control is something that the artist tries to give to his viewers
in Semafor. At the entrance to the
gallery space, the artist placed a traffic light. The light shines red, and the
viewer must push the button to get a green light to go into the gallery. What he
or she does also impacts on the person behind, as that person will have to wait
to go through the door after the person ahead does so. There is a similar
traffic light at the exit to the gallery. On the one hand, the artist gives his
viewers the controls – literally; it is you who gets to push the button. On the
other hand, however, it is also the artist who tells you that you have to push
the button. So you have control, and yet you don’t. But at the end of the day,
you could choose to ignore the light, and the artist, altogether, and just go
through the door. It is a situation that resembles everyday life to a T. We are
constantly in situations where we feel that we have control only because we
have been bestowed a semblance of control by the powers that be. (Think of the
placebo buttons that are often places at crossings where the lights change
regularly anyway, and pushing the button actually has no effect). We always
have the choice to ignore the rules, but we have to accept the consequences
(with Klodain’s work, however, there were no consequences – I think he is too
nice!).

What attracts me to the work of Klodian Deda is its
beautiful complexity beneath a surface of seeming simplicity. His work first
appeals visually – a cluster of chairs over an archway, a bunch of dressed up
trees, a big bra – but then once you delve further into the work it only
becomes more complex and not only visually, but also intellectually, appealing.