Per Barclay was born in Oslo in 1955, but soon departed Norway to settle in Italy. He is one of numerous Norwegian artists who have spent many years abroad. But while most of the others have held exhibitions at home, Barclay has rarely been seen in Norway. He has in turn taken part in numerous exhibitions in Italy and other European countries. In 1990 he represented Norway at the Venice Biennale.
Barclay’s sculpture installations often resemble artificial landscapes, places that belong in an unfamiliar culture. His installations are real places that also have symbolic dimensions. Barclay does not reflect the space, but he allows his objects to share in the reality of the space he creates.
Per Barclay can be said to belong to the arte povera art movement, which is characterised by a quest to discover what is actually at hand, rather than to enrich the world with more or less lofty ideas. This desire to create something clean and simple is important in Barclay’s productions. His penchant for the unusual, simple, impure or even uninviting material is another aspect of his arte povera heritage.
Tension and ambivalence are important characteristics of Barclay’s productions.
Barclay’s choice of materials is always very deliberate, and he has the ability to create maximum tension between them. In his installations you can often find the dualisms active/passive, fixed/floating, static/dynamic, slow/fast, light/heavy, strong/weak, dull/shiny.
1955 Oslo, Norge
1979-81 Instituto Statuale d'Arte di Firenze,
1981-83 Accademia di Belle Arte, Bologna,
1984-85 Accademia di Belle Arte, Roma
Live and work