Per Barclay

Soft Sweet Vortex

Fig42 VII 1

Per Barclay, Deichman VII, 2022–23. Møller Collection / Aars. Courtesy the artist and OSL Contemporary, Oslo.

The Norwegian artist Per Barclay is presented in a solo exhibition with new and existing works from his longstanding international career.

Date Place
Prisma Galleries
Det er intet mindre enn genialt.
— Lars Elton, Dagsavisen
Dette er absolutt en utstilling jeg anbefaler
— Mona Pahle Bjerke, NRK

Per Barclay was born in 1955 in Oslo, and lives and works in Turin, Italy, and Oslo. His artistic practice encompasses photography, sculpture, and collage, and makes use of materials such as stone, steel, aluminium, glass, water, and waste oil.

This career survey shows forty artworks made from 1979 up to today, including a new photographic series of Barclay’s ‘oil room’ at the former Deichman Library in Oslo, produced in 2022. The selection of works in the exhibition, from national and international collections, shows how specific motifs and models have been repeated and expanded over time through various materials and formats.

Soft Sweet Vortex seeks to highlight Barclay's interest in the contrast between air and liquid, which creates tension and a deep sense of the uncanny in his work. Barclay's use of solid materials, such as steel and oil, and choice of extravagant sites and repetitive formal exercises, reflect on industry and capital in their mutual dependency and entwined logic.

26 Fig51 1992 2022 1

Per Barclay, Interior I (1992/2022), Høvikodden. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Giorgio Persano, Torino. © Barclay, Per / BONO

Barclay’s relationship with Henie Onstad Kunstsenter goes back to 1991, when he exhibited his first photographs of oil rooms. The following year, in 1992, Barclay built a ‘water room’ outside in the park where Sal Haaken now stands. Soft Sweet Vortex presents for the first time in Norway a series of photographs taken of the water room’s interior. In 2019, the Glasshus (Glasshouse) was installed in the art centre’s sculpture park, and it is one of the first sculptures you see when arriving at Henie Onstad.

The exhibition is curated by Ana María Bresciani.

Per Barclay: Soft Sweet Vortex is accompanied by a comprehensive English catalogue edited by Ana María Bresciani. It features new essays as well as a conversation between the artist and the curator.

The catalogue is kindly supported by Ingela Lorentzen, Torill and Erik Bøhler, Lise and Carl Otto Løvenskiold, SEB, FERD, Jens Ulltveit-Moe and Skipsreder Tom Wilhelmsens Stiftelse.

Thank you to Formue for support of the exhibition.

  • Per Barclay: Soft Sweet Vortex
  • 37 RIGHT BIG DSC7075

    Per Barclay, Glass house (2019), Henie Onstad Collection. Photo: Øystein Thorvaldsen / Henie Onstad Kunstsenter © Barclay, Per / BONO

  • 02 Fig44 EDIT

    Per Barclay, Self portrait with razorblade (1979/2023). Courtesy the artist. © Barclay, Per / BONO

  • 01 Fig80 extended

    Per Barclay, Ingeleiv's shirt (1979). Photo: Børre Høstland / National Museum, Oslo, Norway. © Barclay, Per / BONO

  • 23 Fig4872

    Per Barclay, Untitled (2022). Courtesy the artist and Galleria Giorgio Persano, Torino. © Barclay, Per / BONO

  • 14 BIG RIGHTPB006 S nr 2

    Per Barclay, Untitled (1991). Private collection. © Barclay, Per / BONO


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