• Artist: Per Barclay
  • Creation date: (1993)
  • Object type: Installation

Not on display


Per Barclay creates installations that occupy the entire room. The deafening sound of drum beats is what first greets us. The drums seem to hang in midair inside a structure formed as a house. The roof and the walls are made of glass, and the framework is made of aluminium. A thick layer of waste oil covers the floor. The house is entirely closed, without any possibility of entrance or egress.

“My works deal with everyday tensions,” Barclay notes. In such a context, the fragile house and the thunderous noise can bring to mind domestic conflicts. Will the thin wires be able to bear the drums and the noise? Or might they snap at any moment and crash down into the black oil? The closed structure seems somewhat claustrophobic. It is difficult to get out, but also to get in – domestic conflicts tend to stay within the four walls of the house.

Painterly, illusionistic spatial installations and photographs that feature large, horizontal surfaces covered in fluids have become something of a hallmark for Barclay. Blood, oil, and other symbolically charged fluids are transformed into beautiful pictorial elements where new rooms or landscapes emerge. The reflections seem both attractive and confusing, similar to poetic, unnerving dreamscapes.

Barclay trained as an artist in Italy in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the Italian arte povera (“poor art”) movement serving as a catalyst for his artistic development. The free use of a variety of materials, the study of the human condition, and the relationship between nature and culture are elements that link Barclay to arte povera.

Text: Ahnikee Østreng / Line Engen

From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0


Per Barclay

Visual artist

Born 1955

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Uten tittel (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
glass, aluminium, motorolje, 3 motoriserte trommer, timere
  • Depth: 190 cm
  • Height: 210 cm
  • Width: 250 cm
Kjøpt 1998
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Complex object/artwork
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
© Barclay, Per/BONO