Submitting InstitutionBath Spa University
Unit of AssessmentArt and Design: History, Practice and Theory
Summary Impact TypeCultural
Research Subject Area(s)
Studies In Creative Arts and Writing: Art Theory and Criticism
History and Archaeology: Curatorial and Related Studies, Historical Studies
Summary of the impact
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter was completely
redeveloped 2007-2011. Lalic was commissioned to make and permanently
install three paintings related to her extensive Colour and Metal
group for negotiated sites integral to the remodelled building. Through
these paintings the large audience at RAMM, and beyond, gained an
understanding of the relationship between the site, colour, pigment and
metal. This includes an understanding of innovations in contemporary
painting, of how painting might relate to the environment, an awareness of
landscape as having a material history, of the development and
significance of this extensive series of works and, in the Museum, the
relation between the works by Lalic and other works in the collections and
Lalic (appointed 1981, Reader 1996, Professor of Painting 1998) has been
working with metals as a source of pigments for artists colours since
1987, when she completed her first works that juxtaposed panels of metal
with monochrome panels painted with named artists oil colours, the pigment
of which derives from the metal, for example White Lead, Chrome Green.
In 1994, Lalic began working with landscape, collecting soil samples in
Italy, then testing various ways of structuring the idea in the studio,
establishing methods now used for all her Landscape Paintings, including
extensive museum research for the identification of extant landscape
paintings. This research was the subject of an AHRB funded sabbatical
(1/10/2003-1/6/2004). The first work completed was Paris Blue
Landscape Painting. 2004. (The Bridge at Courbevoire. Seurat.1886-87).
A third strand of Lalic's work explores the relationship between
pigments, schemes of organisation of artists colours, and genres of
painting resulting in a large group of History Paintings based on
the developing availability of artists' pigments over periods of time.
Between 2007 and 2011, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery
was extended and re-modelled by Allies and Morrison. Lalic was
commissioned (fully funded by Arts Council England) to make three works
for permanent installation in locations discussed and negotiated with the
architects during the planning of the development. These were the three
latest works in the Colour and Metal group. The paintings use the
ten artists colours derived from lead, two from aluminium and one from
tin. South West England is known for its metal ore deposits, and in Exeter
the three works are installed so that when looking at the painting Lead
and Ten Colours, you are facing North-West toward the lead deposits
on the Mendip Hills; when looking at Aluminium and Two Colours you
are facing North-West in the direction of deposits of Waverlite, an
aluminium ore; and with Tin and One Colour you are facing
South-West toward Cornwall and its tin mines.
Since 2004, the Contemporary Art Research Centre at BSAD developed a
focus on the topic of landscape in its widest sense. Critical
Topologies of Landscape, Art and the Politics of Space (2007) was a
symposium led by Whittaker and Alex Landrum followed by the book Nonsite
to Celebration Park (2007, ISBN 978-1-905200-72-6), a second
symposium Art after Architecture (2009), and a second book Painting
with Architecture in Mind (2012, Wunderkammer Press ISBN
9780956646217). Other research in the Centre includes the extension of the
Romantic landscape in the work of Neudecker, the landscape-based paintings
of Woods and the military camouflage paintings of Snell. Vaughan's
research into environment and industrialisation and human impact on the
environment has commonality with the research of Neudecker and Snell.
Tania Kovats undertook research projects sponsored by the School including
Meadow in 2006 (Lund Humphries, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84822-078-2); and
Cockayne worked with Phillip Hoare on Moby Dick. The Big Read, an
online project with a total of 270 participants and c3million downloads as
well as other projects relating to natural history and public,
architecturally sited sculpture in collaboration with Robert Fearns.
References to the research
1) Lalić, M. (2009) The History Paintings: solo exhibition.
Madison Contemporary Art, London, UK. 18 March — 18 April 2009.
[Exhibitions and Performances] Number of works: 8
2) Lalić, M. (2011) Colour and Metal: three commissioned paintings.
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, UK. 2011.
3) Lalić, M. (2011). Maria Lalić: Landscape Paintings (solo
exhibition). Galerie Renate Bender, Munich, Germany. 30 June — 30
July 2011. [Exhibitions and Performances]
4) Lalić M. (2013). Lapislazuli & Purpur. How Color Came to Us.
Galerie Renate Bender, Munich,Germany. 13 September — 26 October 2013.
Co-authors: Koehler, B., McClune, M., Zeniuk, J. [Exhibitions and
6) Lalić M., Six paintings from the History Painting series
presented by the Patrons of New Art (Special Purchase Fund) through the
Tate Gallery Foundation ( 1997). Tate Collection. [Physical Artefacts]
Details of the impact
In 2007, during the planning stage of the RAMM project, Lalic exhibited
12 Colour and Metal Paintings in the existing gallery there and
gave a public talk about her painting practice and these works in
particular, which commenced the process of achieving the cultural and
artistic impact of the commission. The Museum closed for redevelopment
after this exhibition. Lalic worked closely with the architects and the
staff at RAMM on the locations and placement of the 240cm long works in
specially constructed glazed `niches', set back in the wall. This was her
first opportunity to site works in physical relation to the source of the
materials from which they were made. The paintings were developed with the
techniques, methods and awareness derived from the very extensive Colour
and Metal group of paintings that comprise almost 100 works.
When RAMM re-opened in December 2011, the three new Colour and Metal
paintings were in situ and on 26 January 2012 Lalic gave an illustrated
public presentation and `walk and talk' about her practice and the making,
locations and orientations of the works. The new pattern of circulation at
RAMM means that all visitors who use one of two possible routes through
the museum come into contact with the three Lalic works, positioned as
they are in corridors and long view spaces in the main circulatory spine
from the new (rear) entrance through to the original front (Queen Street)
entrance. The works are well labelled with texts that explain the
significance of their placement in relation to the orientation of the
building and viewer.
In August 2012, RAMM (which has a strong natural history and minerals
section) established and publicised a `Lalic Trail' through the museum and
published a pamphlet `Maria Lalic artwork guide' which follows
this route and extends public engagement and awareness with interesting
connections between the paintings and parts of the Museum's collections.
At the same time as Lalic's works were first public the new gallery was
showing 'Into the Light, French and British painting from
Impressionism to the early 1920s' (December 2011-March 2012). This
presented a more conventional view of landscape in contrast to that of
Lalic, and a different possibility for painting in relation to the
environment and painting's history.
Since its redevelopment RAMM has enjoyed increased visitor numbers and
associated economic impact. During its first month after re-opening on 15
December 2011 RAMM had 50,000 visitors, and 375,000 visitors in the period
to 31 January 2013 (ref: annual report). A half-term workshop for children
in February 2012 focused on Lalic's works. The children subsequently
painted a multi-coloured panel on corrugated metal, c1.5m x 6m, now
installed in the Museum café, joining other works by school groups
exploring the Museum's exhibits, developing their awareness of the range
of possibilities for art now. The exhibition of Lalic's three installed
works was mentioned in the Guardian Guide on 17 December 2011 and
identified as `pick of the week' exhibition on 7 January 2012. In June
2012, following the redevelopment by the architects Allies and Morrison,
in which Lalic's work plays a significant part, and the complete
reorganization of all displays, RAMM was named Museum of the Year and
awarded the prestigious Art Fund Prize of £100,000. Subsequently in August
2012, RAMM received the seal of approval from the Visitor Attraction
Quality Assurance Association service (VAQAS), Visit Britain's consumer -
focused quality assessment of visitor attractions.
The creative and cultural impact of Lalic's longstanding research can be
seen in the exhibition of other paintings from Colour and Metal group. The
two Mirror Paintings: Chrome Mirror Painting — Cobalt Turquoise
and Chrome Mirror Painting — Oxide of Chromium (both 1995, oil
paint on canvas and chrome) were exhibited at Mead Carney, 45 Dover
Street, London (2011) along with works by Damian Hirst, John Hoyland,
Richard Long, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, Gerhardt Richter, Keith Tyson
and Andy Warhol; and the previously un-exhibited Stretched Lead
Squares (1992) was included in Lebendiges Grau 2 June to 18
August 2013 at Mies Van der Rohe Haus, Berlin — the second in a series of
four shows, Hauptsache Grau 3 March 2013 to 2 February 2014)
accompanied by a symposium held on 21 and 22 June 2013 and the subject of
a forthcoming book. On 7 March 2013, Lalic lectured on her
work, including the RAMM commission, at the Munich Academy in its `Jour
Fixe' series, a lecture programme with the subject `Materiality
of Paint and Paintings' on the centenary of the first lectures Max
Doerner gave as Academy Professor. These lecture series are open to both
the public and students, with previous lecturers including Daniel Buren,
Martin Creed, Hans Haacke, Tino Seghal and Wolfgang Tillmans. Her works
are included in major collections such as Deutsche Bank, Museum fur
Koncrete Kunst, Germany, V&A, Tate Gallery, and Arts Council England.
Sources to corroborate the impact
1) Exhibition catalogue: de Ville, N., Maria Lalic, Todd
Gallery, London. 1996. Exhibition with catalogue. ISBN 1-873043 11 2
`Lalic requires that we should not be arrested by the bravura decorative
veneer which so often characterizes painting, but to reach beyond this to
consider painting as a discourse codified — and re-codified — by its most
basic substances and the lore of their usage. Although an initial
description of Lalic's working process tends to be material-led, she is at
pains to define her work as painting, and herself as a painter.'
2) Exhibition catalogue: Smith, A., Maria Lalic, The Lead
Fall Paintings, Jensen Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand. 1997.
Exhibition with catalogue. ISBN 0-473-04745-4
`As if wanting to cut through the tired rhetoric of colour in the history
of painting, Lalic grounds her language of colour in an impersonal
enumeration of pigments and virtually uniform methods of paint
application. And as has often been the case in modernist painting, through
relentless cutting back, a new form of impact is discovered.'
3) Book and exhibition: Fehr, M., Wurmfeld, S. (eds.) Seeing
Red — On Nonobjective Painting and Colour Theory. Salon Verlag,
Cologne. 2004. ISBN 10: 3-89770-194-4 ISBN 13: 9783897701946.
Exhibition: Seeing Red International exhibition of non-objective
painting, co-curated by Fehr, M., Ernst, K., Evertz, G. The
exhibition was presented in three parts, Part I Pioneers of
non-objective painting at The Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery and
Part II Contemporary non-objective painting (including Lalic, Luz
Becker, herman de vries) at Hunter College Art Galleries, Times Square,
New York, USA, 12 March-26 April 2003. Part III: Symposium, 14-15
March 2003 at the Goethe Institute New York. The exhibition and book
article place Lalic's activity within an extensive international field of
4) Book: Fortnum, R., Contemporary British Women Artists: In
their own words. I.B.Taurus. 2007. ISBN 1-84511-224-5. The 20 women
interviewed in the book are internationally recognised artists selected by
Fortnum to represent a diversity of practice and age, includes Tacita
Dean, Jane Harris, Maria Chevska, Gillian Ayres, Vanessa Jackson, Maria
Lalic, Hayley Newman, Sonia Boyce, Anya Gallaccio, Paula Rego, Lucy
Gunning, Christine Borland, Claire Barclay, Tania Kovats, Jemima Stehli,
Emma Kay, Tomoko Takahashi, Tracey Emin, Jananne Al-Ani and Runa Islam.
5) Exhibition catalogue. Fehr, M. Maria Lalic, Galerie
Renate Bender , Munich. 2011. The first exhibition of the Landscape
Paintings with catalogue essay by Fehr.
"it is not Maria Lalic's aim to reflect on the act of painting but to
take an unobstructed view of the peculiar colours of materials of which
the world consists. It may seem paradoxical that what it takes to
visualize the color of reality is a comprehensive knowledge of painterly
means and their utilization in the history of painting, but it is this
that forms the foundation for the special position that Maria Lalic's work
has taken on not only in the framework of Concrete Art, but in the history
Individuals to corroborate the artistic and cultural impact:
1) Manager, Education Department, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art
Gallery for the visitor numbers and cultural impact of the `Lalic trail'
and `Maria Lalic artwork guide'.
2) Direktor, Institut fur Kunst im Kontext, Universitat der Kunste,
Berlin on the artistic and cultural impact of Lalic's work, the History
Paintings, Landscape Paintings and Colour and Metal Paintings.
3) Emeritus Professor of Visual Arts, Goldsmiths College, University of
London on the artistic impact of the History Paintings and Colour
and Metal Paintings.
4) Gallery Director, Jensen Gallery Sydney, Australia. On the
wider artistic and cultural significance of Lalic's approach to painting.
5) Director, Galerie Bender, Germany for the artistic and cultural impact
of Lalic's work in the international commercial gallery sector.