Spotlight

Spotlight artist Noa Klagsbald

Championed by Roger Bevan
The Wick - Spotlight artist Noa Klagsbald
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The Wick - Spotlight artist Noa Klagsbald
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Interview
Noa Klagsbald
30 May 2024
Interview
Noa Klagsbald
30 May 2024
Noa Klagsbald’s My Olympia (2022), which will be exhibited at the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris for the Paris Olympics (curated by Leore Lévy), typifies the artist’s thematic interests and quirky sensibilities. In a cheeky nod to one of art history’s great masterpieces, Manet’s 1863 depiction of a nude woman and a maid, Klagsblad replaces oil paint with pixels, the nude white nude with a clothed male footballer, clutching a bunch of yellow flowers as he reclines in the locker room on a medical chair. Instead of the luxurious drapes, there’s a trophy and a few team photos; an empty water cooler container. Forming part of Klagsbald’s 2022 series GOAL, the image fuses the self-professed “die-hard sports fan’s” two main passions: beautiful art and the beautiful game. And power dynamics are always at play in both.
GOAL is not only concerned with the power dynamics that persist in sport and art, but in the ways we might view masculinity, and how racial, ethnic, religious and sexual identities often dissolve on the pitch, where understanding and solidarity are essential to triumph. The work also makes a powerful statement about the possibility and hope for coexistence in the Middle East; Klagsbald worked with Hapoel Bnei Lod, a football club in the city of Lod, Israel, made up of both Palestinian Arab, Arab Israeli and Israeli Jewish players. “Through their shared journey, GOAL not only celebrates the unity found within the club but also serves as a beacon of hope for broader societal harmony.”

Klagsbald’s champion for The Wick is renowned art historian and Exhibition Circle founder, Roger Bevan, who writes: “Noa Klagsbald is a courageous artist looking to cross national borders and heal divisions in one of the most conflicted geographies of modern history through her sporting art films and portrait photographs… perhaps the only route to hope and optimism at a time when suspicion has been inflamed and all other doors to dialogue have been closed.” Of Klagsbald’s GOAL, Bevan notes that “her mixed football team, fielding Israeli and Palestinian players wearing the same strip and playing for the same side, functions like Yoko Ono’s white chess set… even as the first moves are made opposition is dissolved and further aggression serves no useful purpose. Would that all conflicts could be resolved by sporting contests and art exhibitions. Klagsbald makes this bold statement when nothing else appears to work.”

GOAL builds on Klagsbald’s earlier works, employing a mixture of photography and installation to explore similar sporting themes – in Deuce, she used tennis to interrogate the power dynamics of gender, and specifically, as a female photographer taking pictures of men, while in Away Game she placed herself among a team to consider how football culture is shaped by social dynamics, architecture and economics.

“Within the world of sports, I disrupt established power dynamics through staged interactions, prompting reflection on masculinity and femininity”, Klagsbald says. “Collaborating with groups of men adds depth to my exploration, offering diverse perspectives on gender dynamics. In essence, my practice synthesizes art history and sports to critically examine and redefine representations of gender in contemporary society.”

Klagsbald graduated from the Royal College of Art’s Photography MA programme in 2022; while she was still a student, she was listed in the Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for promising talents, and in 2022, she presented GOAL at OOF gallery – Justin Hammond and Eddy Frankel’s gallery at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Her MA degree show was selected to be shown at the International Space Station, as part of Axiom’s first private mission to space – her proudest achievement to date, and one that Klagsblad says “expanded the reach of the message of unity but also underscored the universality of the project’s themes, resonating with audiences worldwide.”

As for her next work, Klagsblad is laying the groundwork for a new project that will continue to examine social issues and the connection between sport, art and community. This time, she’s turning her attention to “the lack of opportunities and representation for women. It’s a cause close to my heart, and I’m excited to delve into it through my art.”

About the champion

The Wick - Spotlight artist Noa Klagsbald

Roger Bevan is an art historian and the founder and director of Exhibition Circle and Exhibition Circle Abroad, a weekly forum leading tours of new exhibitions and auctions in art centres in the UK and around the world, active since 1982. A former senior contemporary art market correspondent for The Art Newspaper he has published extensively in the Burlington Magazine, Apollo, Print Quarterly, Antique and Contemporary Art, Galleries, RA Magazine and Galeries Paris. Among his various publications, he is the author of Now It’s My Turn to Scream.

“Noa Klagsbald is a courageous artist looking to cross national borders and heal divisions”

Place of Birth

Tel Aviv

Education

MA Photography, Royal College of Art, London

Awards, Accolades

The Axiom Mission 1, Rakia space shuttle; A photograph from GOAL series selected by astronaut Eytan Stibbe to be displayed in space

Current exhibitions

The Jewish Museum Lecce, Italy

Spiritual guides, Mentors

Justin Hammond, Roger Bevan, Hrold Offeh, Hermione Wiltshire, Tom Lovelace and Kiera Blakey

Advice

Remain resilient: The path of an artist is often filled with obstacles and uncertainties. In the face of rejection or setbacks, hold onto your resilience. Let your determination and passion fuel your journey, propelling you forward even in the toughest of times.


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