Materials' associations and
characteristics often comprise the
starting point for Claire Barclay's
work. Many of the materials used
in this Scottish artist's work are
organic and refer to nature, and
would be called fetishistic by
Sigmund Freud. Both her
selection and combinations are refined and
ingenious: hard materials like glass and metal
are contrasted with the softness of cotton yarn
and feathers; the hand-crafted are contrasted
with the industrial. Along with making things
herself, she also uses ready-mades.
Physical intimacy is palpable in Claire Barclay's art as is ambiguity; her objects contain elements of cleaning utensils and sports articles as well as instruments of torture and sexual toys. The feeling of recognition becomes rapidly mixed with uncertainty when the observer's fantasies play the leading role. The function one thinks one recognises is often proved to be a disturbing - if often comic - dysfunction. In this way Barclay thematises the relationship between nature and culture, between the human body and its surroundings - a relationship pertinent not least to sexuality. Her post-minimalist sensibility shares several points with Eva Hesse's, for example.
Claire Barclay's objects seldom appear alone; things are placed in relation to each other in installations that must be navigated, in a structure that is more reminiscent of poetry than of traditional sculpture. Sometimes her installations resemble landscapes. One of her latest projects is a public commission in a residential area in one of Glasgow's southern suburbs. Together with an architect and the residents in the area, she has designed a remarkable but also functional, three-storey garden shed. The residents who want to cultivate small plots use the shed, and it contains several surprises.
Claire Barclay's Moderna Museet Projekt in PrÃ¤stgÃ¥rden (the Old Vicarage) consists of a totally new installation. In addition to using the former assembly room for her objects, she will be extending her exhibition to encompass the trees and landscape around the Vicarage. Claire Barclay was born in Paisley, Scotland and lives in Glasgow. In March 2000 there will be a one-woman show of her work at The Showroom in London. In Sweden she has previously participated in the group show, Clean & Sane, at Edsvik Art and Culture in Sollentuna in the summer of 1997.
Curator: Maria Lind
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SE-103 27 Stockholm