“Biennale de Lyon”

Biennales: art history on the move? 

November 2015. The Biennale de Lyon has already been open for about ten weeks. In La Sucrière, Ralph Rugoff’s exhibition “Modern Life” paints a vast portrait of today’s world while re-establishing the concept of “modern” – to the detriment of “post-modernity” which, in his opinion, is dead. In the curator’s opinion: “To say something is “modern”, at this point, imbues it with an aura of uncertainty and suggests that it is both obsessed with History and turned towards the future. It seems that this ambiguity is a perfect reflection of the changing character of our current relationships with time and History.” (Biennale catalogue) On the ground floor of La Sucrière presides a work by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. Aura (2015) is an installation made of a drum kit half buried by cherry stones (on a circular wooden support) and a detector of electromagnetic waves. Depending on the level of waves detected at La Sucrière, cherry stones fall from the ceiling onto the drum kit, generating a random rhythm, making tangible “the intangibility of our communication systems”. Suddenly, a child fascinated by the sound of Aura runs right into the installation and falls on the cherry stones. At La Sucrière, this action suspends time for a few seconds. Some visitors are outraged, others amused by this naïve act. The security men freeze, uncertain how to react straight away – the “damage” is already done. Celeste Boursier Mougenot’s work is constructed through measured chance and limited interactivity: the probability that a visitor’s mobile phone will set off the installation’s mechanism. So the child entirely disrupted the work’s system: where chance was meant to be controlled, he brought a dose of improbability, itself becoming a work as it modified the arrangement of the cherry stones – that were meant to stay undisturbed throughout the Biennale....

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The 13th Biennale de Lyon or the exploration of the Modern, with Thierry Raspail

Thierry Raspail, director of the Biennale de Lyon [in Lyon, France, until January 3 2016] since its launch in 1991, has also been director of MAC Lyon since it began in 1984. After having secured the position of artistic direction for the first three editions, Thierry Raspail has entrusted the artistic direction of the Biennale to different commissioners, and together they have decided on a theme for each of the three editions, according to the principles of a trilogy. In 2015, the Biennale opens a trilogy on the modern, inaugurated by “Modern Life”, curated by Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery in London. Art Media Agency went to meet the leader of this international and Lyon adventure that is both artistic and political and has continued to reinvent itself for over two decades. It’s been a few weeks since the 13th Biennale de Lyon started. For now, we’re lucky to get very positive reviews from the press, with one exception. The response from the public is excellent and very unexpected. The artists also sent messages testifying to how happy they were with the Biennale. I don’t want to speak too soon, but we have to admit that this year has started very well. The world now has between 150 and 200 biennials. How do you make yourself stand out among all the choice? On a global scale, I would not say that there is overwhelming choice, that’s-to-say by density of km2. After all, the Biennale de Lyon is the only one in France. As such, it is following on from the Biennale de Paris, created by Malraux in 1959 to try to fight against the growing influence of New York on the Western market. The Biennale de Paris stopped in 1985 and luckily we took over in 1991....

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Ralph Rugoff to curate Lyon Biennale

Lyon, 30 January 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA) Thierry Raspail, the artistic director of the Biennale de Lyon, has named Ralph Rugoff as curator of the event’s 2015 edition. This edition of the Biennale has been constructed as a trilogy, based around words selected by Raspail, with “Transmission”, “Temporality” and “Global” having already been launched. A fourth cycle is to take place from 2015-2019, inspired by the word “Modern”. Ralph Rugoff began his career as a critic and independent curator, and has led projects in locations including the Serpentine Gallery, London. From 2000 to 2006, he was director of the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco and, since 2006, has directed London’s Hayward Gallery. In 2002, he acted as an advisor on the board of the Syndey Biennale, and in 2002 was part of the jury for the Turner...

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New record of visitors for 12th edition of Biennale de Lyon

Lyon, 9 January 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). Open since 12 September 2013, the Biennale de Lyon, whose theme this year was narration, closed its doors on 5 January. During this 12th edition curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran, the number of visitors to the event, which remained relatively stable at 204,669 visitors across 17 weeks (compared with 202,404 visitors in 2011), has nevertheless allowed organisers to announce a new record. The popular success of this year’s biennale is all the more impressive when looking at figures for its first edition in 1997, which attracted 70,000...

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Success at Biennale de Lyon

Lyon, 5 January 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). On 31 December, the 11th edition of Biennale de Lyon closed after three months of exhibiting in four places of the city: the Sucrière, the Fondation Bullukian, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon (MAC Lyon) and at the Usine T.A.S.E. This year’s theme, designed by Argentine curator Victoria Noorthoorn, was “A terrible beauty is born”. 78 artists mainly from Europe, Africa and Latin America were invited to present their creations in the 13,000 m2 available to them by the various partner institutions of the event. Organisers revealed that over 200,000 people visited the various places of the event, which is an increase of over 21% compared to the previous edition, having attracted 165,000 visitors. Although the majority of them remain local (in the Rhône Alpes), Biennale de Lyon has attracted a younger audience as a recorded 37% of the public were under 26. In the process, the leaders of the Biennale de Lyon announced the curator for the next edition, to be held in 2013, is Gunnar Kvaran, director of the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo. Kyaran is no stranger to the Lyon scene seeing as he was co-curator of the exhibition “Indian Highway”, installed last year at MAC Lyon. He also served as the curator of the Icelandic pavilion at the Venice Biennale several times between 1984 and 1990, and was, more recently, the co-curator of the Moscow Biennale in...

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