Biennale de Lyon

Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art Cité internationale,
Sucrière - Port Rambaud, Villeurbanne Institute of Contemporary Art
and other locations, Sept-October 2005
Biennales often seem to be tools for curators to respond to each other. For example this Biennale de Lyon curated by Palais de Tokyo's Nicolas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans, on view until December, comments on the previous one (curated by The Art Center Consortium's team Eric Troncy, Xavier Douroux and Franck Gautherot). That 2003 edition of Lyon was a strong reaction to the controversial Venice Biennale organized by Francesco Bonami in the same year. For those not in Europe in the last couple of years Venice was a messy event that overshadowed the artworks - "l'oeuvre" - the Consortium team returned to basics. Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe and John Armleder among others were included to renew the experience of artworks. The exhibition was criticized for being far too "aesthetic". Now Bourriaud and Sans demonstrate what the experience of art is not only a question of seeing, but of space and time, a "duration". And which artists illustrate their statement? The same ones again, (Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe...), plus a bunch of 70s artists prepresented by historical pieces... Conclusion: in this ping pong system we are offered less and less novelty, which is supposed to be the purpose of a Bienniale isn't it?
Charlotte Laubard
installation view Dream House La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela
courtesy La Monte Young et Marian Zazeela, photo Blaise Adilon


Anonymous Anonymous said...

To respond to Charlotte: I'm not sure if Biennales are primarily supposed to offer novelty, but I agree that seeing the same folks over and over and over and over can wear a little thin. I wonder if these decisions are made because the curators are afraid to take risks and therefore defer to the authority of the curatorial decisions that have come before them; because they have some inside track on what is really current and relevant that I don't have and indeed it really is still, always, "Carsten Höller and Pierre Huyghe" etc., as you write (don't get me wrong -- I like Pierre Huyghe's work!); or if it boils down to something largely pragmatic, like shipping costs -- some artists and some media are cheaper than others! Or some combination of all this.
I remember years ago when the curators for Manifesta 2 came through Italy on a trip for several days to see what was happening -- to visit with curators and artists and gallerists. And after all their work, and all the presentations they saw, they selected one Italian... Maurizio Cattelan. Who they could have selected without getting out of bed, back in Luxembourg. (Again, don't get me wrong, etc.!).
Personally, I go to Biennales (when I go to Biennales, which is not often) mostly for the parties, where more interesting stuff can get done and get said (particularly get said) than in the shows. Perhaps the real fun stuff happens later, back at home, (and hooked up with some folks we met at parties) where we are not trying make such big, big statements. I mean, I don't know if I could ever make a pronouncement on what is "the experience of art."
- Jen Budney

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said JB...

7:26 AM  

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