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ROQ Oxford Spectral Flip

Spectral Flip
Spectral Flip
Spectral Flip
Spectral Flip
Spectral Flip
Spectral Flip

Spectral Flip is a new wall-based work by Antoni Malinowski, the London-based international artist who specializes in artistic interventions in architectural spaces; it has been commissioned by the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford.


The commission forms an important element of Oxford University’s Radcliffe Observatory Quarter Public Art Programme, curated by Modus Operandi, and which seeks to enhance the ROQ through art and benefit the local community by encouraging public engagement with its artworks, spaces and architecture.


The Mathematical Institute adds to Oxford’s long and distinguished history of mathematics that reaches back to the 14th century. It was designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects and comprises 300 offices, three lecture rooms and ten seminar rooms. The Institute houses the entire faculty in one building for the first time in over two decades.


Spectral Flip consists of a two-part mural located on the north and south facing walls of the Mathematical Institute’s Andrew Wiles building foyer, with a third element, a frieze, on the lower ground floor by the entrance to the lecture theatre. The work is painted directly onto the walls that were prepared with a sensitizing layer of reflective paint. The two main wall paintings face each other, framing the entrance foyer and creating a luminous force field within it: a place within a space.


Antoni Malinowski said:

Each day the journey of light is registered on the two large walls facing each other in the luminous foyer. To complement and enhance this journey, I began by sensitising this background by applying a reflective paint made with mica ground to a fine pigment. Then on the south facing wall, using light absorbing pigments, I painted in colours related to the warm end of the spectrum - from red to yellow. These light wave subtractive earth pigments have been used by painters for around forty thousand years.

The wall paintings will appear very different from different viewing points and with different light conditions. The colour will oscillate between darkness and light, appearing and disappearing, showing different sides of binary complementarities. One elongated thin line in each painting will contribute to the opening of the pictorial space - an invitation for an imaginary spatial journey.’ 




Antoni Malinowski

Title of work

Spectral Flip


University of Oxford


Andrew Wiles Building, ROQ, University of Oxford



Image credit

Valerie Bennett