2019-2021 Emerging Artist

Kledia Spiro

The Weight of Inheritance, performance and installation at Boston Center for the Arts, Mills Gallery, Boston, MA, dimensions variable, 2018.

The Weight of Inheritance

The Weight of Inheritance, 2018, Queens Museum, Queens, NY (curated by Lisa Crossman, Curator, Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA and Hector Canonge, Curator, Queens Museum, Queens, NY)

Battle of the Beasts, Revisited

Battle of the Beasts, Revisited, 2017, featuring special guests Roger Y. Dunn and Oscar A. Reyes Bogran, Boston Sculptors Gallery, Boston, MA

Learning How to Draw

Learning how to Draw, 2018, multimedia installation and performance, Christopher Brodigan Gallery, Groton School, Groton, MA (curated by Beth Van Gelder, Brodigan Gallery Director, Groton, MA)

Conservative and Bland

Conservative and Bland, 2017, Le Petit Versailles, New York, NY (curated by Karl Cooney, artist, New York, NY)

Lifting Lives II: BRING YOUR PROTEST SIGNS

Lifting Lives, II: BRING YOUR PROTEST SIGNS, 2016, Sprinkler Factory, Worcester, MA

Artist Statement

When I was nine years old, I had trouble sleeping for about three months. I could no longer hear the gunshots serenading me to bed every night. It was too quiet. That same year, 1997, I moved to the United States. There, I continued living life as a "normal" kid, however, I felt as though I grew up too fast. I was always cognizant of the weight of my parents struggles. Subconsciously, I think I set out to find a way to lighten their burden.

In high school I tried to learn Olympic Weightlifting myself and I fell in love with it. At the time, I couldn't pinpoint exactly why I fell in love with it, but I felt at home. This passion led me to join a weightlifting team in 2011 and there I discovered my connection to what would be a lifelong art practice. In Olympic Weightlifting, the barbell rotates in your hand to switch directions and makes a very distinct metal clicking sound. This sound is VERY similar to the click of a gun. Then, once the lift is accomplished you have to drop the weight, making the sound of a great explosion. I would just hear the gun clicking and huge explosion sounds, over and over again, all compressed into this one tiny room where we trained. It brought me back to Albania, the country I am from, at a time in 1997, when there was a civil war. For the first time, I had control of these sounds and wasn't a victim to them.

I use weightlifting as a symbol of survival, empowerment and celebration. Weightlifting becomes a vehicle for discussing women's role in society, immigration and times of war. I explores the connection between weightlifting and daily life as a new celebratory ritual for understanding the relationship between the artist and the audience, as well as the present and the past. By experimenting with indeterminate methods, I want the viewer to access the otherwise inaccessible spaces. My works are based on Freudian and Piagetian behavioral concepts: visions that reflect psycho-analysis, behavioral psychology, and a sensation of indisputability, combined with details of odd, eccentric, absurd, totemic and humoristic elements. By questioning where one is and the concept of movement, I investigate the manipulation of lifting objects overhead and its effects.

Weightlifting was only a means to understanding what the form of lifting an object in the air, above one's head, means. Lifting objects in the air can be a reference to celebration, like traditional wedding dances, when the bride and groom are lifted up in chairs and danced around. This action can also refer to protests, parades, pickets and religious holidays. The action of lifting objects in the air above one's head has served as a source of empowerment when putting protest signs up or as a sign of winning, hope or reverence.

I realized weightlifting was a metaphor for something much bigger than success or empowerment, overcoming struggle or immigration or war or any personal struggle. It was about showing that everyone has something to lift in their lives. For me, it is my parents. They are the "mythical giants" of my world, the ones that sacrificed their whole life to create a new one for me and my sister. I am always carrying that weight and want to one day be able to "lift them up". I may never be able to because of everything my parents carry and hold inside them, but I will always try. That is my life goal. My work strives to make people think of what they want to "lift" in their lives.

Artist Bio

Kledia Spiro (Tirana, Albania) creates videos, performances, installations, and paintings. Kledia was born in Albania and was part of an olympic weightlifting team. She uses strength and weightlifting as a symbol of survival, empowerment and celebration. Weightlifting becomes a vehicle for discussing women's role in society, immigration and times of war. Kledia has performed in New York at the Queens Museum, Songs for Presidents Gallery, Grace Exhibition Space, Rosekill, Panoply Performance Lab, Java Studios, Le Petit Versailles and in Boston at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Mobius, Piano Craft Gallery, Bathaus, Distler Performance Hall, and the New England Conservatory. Her work has been featured nationally, most notably at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Queens Museum, New York, SAIC Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire, Satellite Art Show, Miami Art Week and the ProArts Gallery in Oakland, California.

Spiro explores the connection between strength, weightlifting and daily life as a new celebratory ritual for understanding the relationship between the artist and the audience, as well as the present and the past. By experimenting with indeterminate methods, Spiro wants the viewer to access the otherwise inaccessible spaces. Her works are based on Freudian and Piagetian behavioral concepts: visions that reflect psycho-analysis, behavioral psychology, and a sensation of indisputability, combined with details of odd, eccentric, absurd, totemic and humoristic elements. By questioning where one is and the concept of movement, Spiro investigate the manipulation of lifting objects overhead and it's effects.

Spiro received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. She also received the Museum Studies Certificate from Tufts University in 2015. She has a BA from the College of the Holy Cross in Studio Art and Psychology with an Asian Studies Concentration. In 2018, Spiro was the Keynote Speaker at the Centennial New England Museum Association Conference. In 2017, she was selected as a TEDx speaker and performer for "The Pursuit of Creativity." In 2016, Spiro was the video director that received the Massachusetts Cultural Council Award for the Mayors Art Challenge. In 2015, Spiro was awarded the Graduate Student Travel Grant by Tufts University, and was also selected as one of five artists for the New England Media Symposium on the panel "Gender, Technology and Media: Hypothetical Schematics" at Emerson College. In 2014, Spiro was appointed as the MFA Graduate representative for Exhibitions at the SMFA. Spiro was a visiting artist and guest lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross in 2014.

Contact

Website: www.klediaspiro.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kledia.spiro
Instagram: www.instagram.com/klediastudios
Twitter: twitter.com/klediastudios
Tumblr: klediastudios.tumblr.com



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