Biennial of Lyon – Part 1

25 November 2007 at 12:18 pm (Exhibition, First ones, Links)

1)General context

The Biennial of Lyon 2007 was conceived as a game with 60 curators from all over the world. Each curator had to bring the 00’s decade most representative artist according to him. The expected result from this game was to write a story of contemporary art of the 00’s decade.

2)General impressions

Reading critics in magazines I had this false vision of the biennial of Lyon. I thought, and still think, that the idea to take 60 different curators from all kind of places in the world to organize it is good, but arriving there, I realized that the biennial was seen as an artwork made by those curators. Even worse, each curators considered himself and his colleges as artists. To be clearer, for the biennial of Lyon, under the pretext that they chosen to bring those specific artists, that are, for them, representative of the 00’s unfinished decade, and that they have the ambition to write the 00’s decade history of art, they are artists. Then, I ask to myself, is every art collector an artist? Is every single person an artist when he buys an artwork?

The problem I see in this pretension, is that the fact to put an artwork in a space with no aesthetic and/or artistic reflexion and purpose can’t be considered as an artistic move. To be honest, for me it seemed that they didn’t agree on how to present the works and how to organize the exhibition space : notes and the artist name are not easy to find and to link with the works, bringing confusion and annoying visitors.

One of the most chocking miss-organization were the explicit content warnings: some of them were next to the artwork. Not that I got chocked, but I imagined a scene with a little kid looking to the artwork and starting to cry “ooops too late”, it make me laugh so much… And explicit artworks had a free access, except one : the strip tease next to Dan Graham, Dan Flavin and Larry Bell minimal art. The problem was that the room used for this artwork was kind of like a corridor. So if some underaged person (or without id) has to reach the stairs to leave the floor, it has to go all over the exhibition again to take an elevator the other side and to go on in the next floor but in the wrong way (so for a group of persons it gets annoying because everybody has to do the same in order to keep together…) really stupid.

Even more stupid, the performance is made when the stripper decides that the persons present in the room seem correct to do the strip tease… The stripper even came to tell us that she wouldn’t do the performance while we were in the room… We left the room and 5 minutes later she was ending the performance. I think this is amateur and respect-less, we’ve traveled nearly 600km in a day to see the biennial as art students and we get this kind of treatment (I felt that people in the MAC museum were really respect-less with visitors). It’s neither our nor their fault if the curators don’t know how to put the notes and put notes that are in the wrong place.

If curators want to be seen as artists, they should produce some artworks and show them, their work is to organize an exhibition. I think it’s a shame that the biennial of Lyon wasn’t well organized, it’s maybe one of the factors that made me feel like not coming back to see the part that is still missing, even if I know that I should go to see it by myself (I didn’t had time to go to the Institut d’Art Contemporain).

Now concerning the artworks, I didn’t had time to watch all the projections (same problem in Biennial of Venice, not enough time, in Venice, we had 3 days, in Lyon we had only 6 hours). So with the rush I’ve naturally selected the artworks that seemed relevant to me. Here is my personal artworks canon of the biennial of Lyon with links, arguments and critics.

Urs Fischer, invited by Massimiliano Gioni (artistic director of the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi), made an installation with a rubber bag balloon attached with a metallic rope on a broom and a metallic cannon floating like the balloon attached to an office chair.

I’ve seen, in January 2007, another of the Urs Fischer installation in the exhibition 5 milliards d’années in Palais de Tokyo (in Paris). Where two benches with a light up candle were suspended with an iron chain rotating. The melted wax designs two perfect circles making me think on an infinite symbol. Urs’ work represents circularity aspects of time and . It fits perfectly in this exhibition, since the topic was time and time relativity.

In July 2007, I’ve seen one more Urs Fischer work in Sequence 1 exhibition in Palazzio Grassi presenting François Pinault‘s collection, in Venice. A kind of memory tree where the leaves are drawings, photos and illustrations presenting the last 50 years in art.

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