The cliché phrase « I can do that too » heard from a person criticizing contemporary art marked Manuela Lalic’s strategy of doing. Thus, so that everyone can identity with the artistic act, her work is based on simple gestures that she put on « poor » materials and objects (twisting a paper clip, tying a knot in a plastic bag). By constructing a materiality in ambivalence between what is artificial and natural, the unstable, the perishable, the degraded, the dirty is juxtaposed the refined, the detailed, the seductive. From object manipulation and/or images and the resulting accumulations, Manuela Lalic elaborates stagings evoking « collective moments » by diverting gestures, objects and space organization associated with these rituals and conventions with these ways of « being together ». She is interested in mass behavior to question the capitalist society’s functioning, which prefabricates and standardizes our desires and needs. In this logic, the performance is of the order of infiltration into mass movements (extending the red line marking the bus shelter with a red ribbon, cutting it, going from one bus shelter to another and reconstructing this path as a red line on the map of Montreal; tracing the outline of chewing gum deposits accumulating on the sidewalks in New York City). By observing tensions between her Franco-Serbian-Canadian different identity states, which are also linked to rural, urban or cosmopolitan affiliations, Manuela Lalic wonders about the link between the individual and their community, a recurring theme in her practice. The feeling of belonging with the attachment to one’s native country and roots interests her as much as the determination part and control that one can have. In that sense, as a sculptor and performer, Manuela Lalic has an observer's position: she chooses what she relativizes, value, caricature by positioning herself in front of these multiple cultural affiliations.
Manuela Lalic work has been presented in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Her artistic biases have led her to do several international residencies in New York (Canada Council for the Arts - International Studio and Curatorial Program residency, 2009), Rajasthan, India (Sandarbh Artist Residency, 2013-2014) and Yaoundé, Cameroon (short residency as part of the Ravy Biennale, 2016). Since 2014, Manuela Lalic has been a lecturer at UQÀM’s School of Visual and Media Arts.