15th Lyon Biennale
September 15, 2019 – January 5, 2020
In 2019, the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale is moving to the 29,000 sqm space of the former Fagor factory for the first time. This 15th edition is curated by the Palais de Tokyo, which has imagined the international exhibition as a vast landscape of uneven topography and unsettled climates. The Lyon Biennale is viewed as one of the world’s leading contemporary art events, and this 15th edition will embrace the Lyon metro area and the entire region.
The Lyon Biennale will be held in macLYON and the 29,000sqm post-industrial space of the former Fagor factory in the heart of the Gerland district – an exceptional site, emblematic of Lyon’s history. The factory, which operated here from 1945 until 2015, was among the last big manufacturing plants inside the city limits. In September, this vast brownfield site will host a system of political, poetic, aesthetic and environmental interactions through works by fifty or so artists of all generations and many nationalities, selected by the Palais de Tokyo’s curators. The Lyon Biennale’s new artistic director is Isabelle Bertolotti, art historian and macLYON director.
The Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale has entrusted the curatorship of its international exhibition to the Palais de Tokyo and its team of curators: Adélaïde Blanc, Daria de Beauvais, Yoann Gourmel, Matthieu Lelièvre, Vittoria Matarrese, Claire Moulène and Hugo Vitrani. Together they have envisioned this biennale as a vast ecosystem where artworks and artists cultivate the art of permaculture, at the intersection of landscapes be they biological (all interactions with living organisms, whether plants, animals or bacteria); economic (all interactions with resources and the appetites they entail: producing, distributing consuming) and cosmogonic (all relations with the world’s spirit and our awareness of our place in the universe). Around fifty artists of all generations and many nationalities, with gender parity, have been invited to make site-specific works that draw on the factory’s legacy and architecture as well as its socio-economic context.
“Fantastic gardens, hybrid creatures, bouquets of epiphytic stories, synthetic fragrances and mythological machines, but also colours, crystals, songs and infrasounds which could be intended for us humans as much as for our contemporaries: plants, animals, minerals, breaths and chemistries, waves and bacteria, are just some of the ingredients that make up the porous landscapes of this 15th Lyon Biennale. This edition – a reflection of our collective curatorial approach, based on discussion and collegiality – seeks to nurture chance encounters and unexpected connections between artworks specially produced in collaboration with the vital forces of the metro area, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and the city of Lyon” – Curatorial team.
The Biennale connects the areas of the Lyon metro area and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region through the Veduta platform. It thus fosters direct contact between artists and residents, integrating art into the city and everyone’s daily life. This year, the Biennale will again include a strand devoted to regional and international emerging artists and entitled “Young international artists/Biennale”, to be held at the Institute of Contemporary Art (IAC) in Villeurbanne. This exhibition stems from a collaboration between the IAC, macLYON, the National Fine Arts School (ENSBA) in Lyon, and the Lyon Biennale. Associated exhibitions will be held at other venues, including the Convent of La Tourette in L’Arbresle, the Bullukian Foundation in Lyon, the international Centre of Printmaking and Books (URDLA) in Villeurbanne, etc. In parallel, Résonance will host 200-plus projects led by artists’ collectives, art and architecture schools, galleries and cultural institutions around the region.
With over 330,000 visitors in 2017 (including 6,500 professionals from 40 countries), the Lyon Biennale is a broad-based event which supports new work and the general public’s art education. It enables artists to make ambitious pieces, and showcases an entire region’s productive and cultural capability in an international context. The fruit of numerous collaborations between the artists and firms in Lyon and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, this 15th edition of the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale gathers artworks made according to the principle of short supply chains. These partnerships between the artists and the local technical, industrial and intellectual terroir offer an art production model of unprecedented scale, which is embedded in the region and conceived as a dynamic and perpetually evolving material.