Exhibition: The 2019 Biennale de Lyon

Text by CLOT Magazine

Firkanta elastisitet – Skulptur i spenn, Malin Bülow (2017). Store Salen, Kunstbanken – Hedmark Kunstsenter. Photo credit: Fruzsina Berkes and Malin Bülow

The Lyon Biennale has long been one of the world’s most important contemporary art events, and this year for its 15th iteration, it is expanding its horizons quite literally and figuratively. Curated by the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), the main event will be taking place at Lyon and, for the first time this year, taking over a 29,000 sqm abandoned Fagor Factory facility, as well as holding various interventions stretched across the greater Lyon and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regions.

Over fifty multinational artists from all walks of life have partnered with Lyon organisations and local workers and professionals to present their site-specific works that interpret the site’s design, history, and socio-economic background while considering the ongoing issues regarding cultural, political, and economic shifts. The intense fluctuations of these shifts are epitomized by this post-industrial plant which was once the highlight of Lyon’s architecture and now provides a transitioning landscape for creatives to address these challenges. 

The theme of this year borrows its name from Raymond Carver’s poem – Where Water Comes Together with Other Water. The exhibit is portrayed as a landscape with irregular geography and an unstable environment, a landscape that viewers are encouraged to walk around in, explore, hear, feel, and engage with, an ecosystem in all senses of the word, be it the relationships of living beings with each other, the relationships of the consumer culture with big corporations, or our relationship with the rest of the universe.

The factory represents one such landscape, transforming from the height of the old industrial age to its confrontation with the unclear future. The biennale’s goal is to be accessible for everyone stepping out of the usual constraints of exhibition space and format and to encourage continual experimentation and artistic engagement with social issues. 

Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale is open to the public starting from September 18, 2019. 

(Media courtesy of the Biennale de Lyon)
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