The Lyon Biennale sets a global benchmark, and today stands in the very front rank of the art world.
Emma Lavigne wanted to moor the Biennale in central Lyon, a city whose identity has been shaped partly by the ubiquity of water. The Biennale will unfurl like a voyage around an archipelago of islands, which by turns are theatre stages or stopovers conducive to slowing down; and which by turns will generate wonder, realisation, contemplation or reflection.View the site of the edition 2017
Curator - Ralph Rugoff
Venues - La Sucrière, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Room 15 at the Musée des Confluences
Entitled Modern Life, the 13th Lyon Biennale brought together artists from 28 countries, who explored the contradictory character of contemporary culture in varied regions of the world. Their work addressed the ways in which multifarious legacies of the “modern” era continue to colour and shape our perceptions, as well as the salient scenarios and issues of everyday life.
This 13th edition attracted 250,000 visitors.
Curator - Gunnar B. Kvaran
Venues – La Sucrière, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Bullukian Foundation, Saint-Just Church, L’Antiquaille boiler plant
In 2013 the international exhibition, curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran, exhibited work by 77 artists from 21 countries worldwide, in five venues across Greater Lyon. Kvaran’s artistic project had a strong flavour of the future: 80% of the exhibits were new work, and 73% of the artists were aged under 40. The 2013 Biennale de Lyon brought together artists from all over the world who work in the narrative field and experiment, through their work, with the modalities and mechanisms of narration.View the site of the edition 2013
Curator - Victoria Noorthoorn
Venues – La Sucrière, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, T.A.S.E. Factory, Bullukian Foundation
This edition’s title was taken from a poem by W.B. Yeats relating the tragic story of Ireland’s claim for territorial independence from Great Britain. Curated by Victoria Noorthoorn, the oxymoronic “terrible beauty” endeavoured to pinpoint, in the “modernity” of international current affairs, the demands and creations of artists who identify with both the continuity and discontinuity of our globalised world, and with the beauty that is left in it. Work by 78 artists was shown, including major new pieces by, among others, Augusto da Campos, Robert Kusmirowski, Marina de Caro, Jorge Macchi, Tracey Rose, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.View the site of the edition 2011
Curator – Hou Hanru
Venues - La Sucrière, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Bullukian Foundation, Bichat Warehouse
After 20 years and 10 editions, the Lyon Biennale now explored the tendency of the current art and culture scene to strive to reinvent the ordinary as an antidote to the spectacular. With The Spectacle of the Everyday as its overarching theme, the event reflected on the purpose of art in our spectacular world, and attempted to rediscover the very close link between the making of art and individual lives.
This Biennale comprised four sections: The Magic of Things, Celebrating the Drift, Living Together and Another World Is Possible. The featured artists – including Tsang Kinwah, Latifa Echakch, Lee Mingwei, Maria Thereza Alves, Shilpa Gupta, Jimmie Durham and Agnès Varda – examined reality with a critical eye and imagined new social codes.
Curators - Stéphanie Moisdon and Hans Ulrich Obrist
Venues - La Sucrière, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Villeurbanne Institute of Contemporary Art, Bullukian Foundation
For this final opus dealing with the question of temporality, Stéphanie Moisdon and Hans Ulrich Obrist invited 50 curators from around the world to pick an artwork which, in their view, embodied the current decade. The issue now under consideration was topicality. Work by 111 artists was exhibited in four venues: La Sucrière, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Bullukian Foundation.
The ninth edition of the Biennale drew 146,000 visitors.
Curators – Nicolas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans
Venues - La Sucrière, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Villeurbanne Institute of Contemporary Art, Le Rectangle, Saint-Jean Fort
The two star directors of the fledgling Palais de Tokyo, in Paris, accepted the theme of this eighth edition on temporality. They selected works by 60 artists from 19 countries; and showed 290 pieces, 21 of them created especially for the Biennale.
Some 173,000 visitors came to see this second volume of the trilogy devoted to the question of time.
View the site of the edition 2005
Curators - Le Consortium, Dijon (Xavier Douroux, Frank Gautherot, Éric Troncy with Anne Pontégnie, Robert Nickas)
Venues - La Sucrière, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Villeurbanne Institute of Contemporary Art, Le Rectangle, Lyon Museum of Fine Arts
Borrowing the title of a René Clair film, It Happened Tomorrow kicked off the trilogy devoted to temporality, and explored the future of art by betting on the future. 2003 marked the Biennale’s arrival in several Lyon venues including La Sucrière, a specially converted sugar warehouse, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
This seventh edition hosted 75 guest artists and moved back to the autumn. It drew 130,000 visitors.
Curators - Anne Bertrand, Jean-Marc Chapoulie, Yvane Chapuis, Laurence Dreyfus, Klaus Hersche, Richard Robert and Guy Walter
Venues - Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Les Subsistances, Tête d’Or Park Orangery
Back in its odd-year slot, the Biennale had only a year to devise its sixth edition. Seven curators produced Connivance, which addressed the convergence between the arts: video games, choreography, photography, film, literature…
This edition attracted 63,000 visitors to Les Subsistances, Tête d'Or Park, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Curator - Jean-Hubert Martin
Venue - Tony Garnier Hall
This edition was for once held in an even year to celebrate the three zeros. Because people are always exotic to someone else, this Biennale was entitled Sharing Exoticisms and embraced other cultures once and for all. Its project? Reinstate the freedom to interpret forms on planetary scale. For this fifth edition, the event questioned the validity of art and its multiple applications worldwide. Artists from China, Brazil and Japan took part.
The exhibition featured work by 140 artists and hosted 110,000 visitors.
Curator – Harald Szeemann
Venue - Tony Garnier Hall
The curator of the legendary 1969 exhibition When Attitudes Become Form directed this fourth edition on the theme of “the other”. He displayed monumental pieces alongside artworks associated with Art Brut, such as those of French postman the Facteur Cheval. With this theme, Lyon stated its intention to think in holistic and pluricultural terms. Two years before Venice, Szeemann showed the Lyon public a wide selection of Chinese artists.
The Biennale again took up residence at Tony Garnier Hall for two editions, and moved to a summer berth. Some 79,000 visitors discovered the work of 88 artists.
Curator – Georges Rey
Venues – Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Conference Centre
The third Biennale inaugurated the new Museum of Contemporary Art designed by Renzo Piano in the heart of the Cité Internationale quarter. Taking its lead from the centenary of cinema and from the Lumière brothers, the event looked back at the short history of video art – from the first art experience on television to interactivity and broadband; a history retraced by 64 guest artists.
The public discovered a generation of artists using the latest technological innovations.
Some 133,000 visitors explored the halls of Lyon’s Conference Centre and Museum of Contemporary Art.
Curator – Marc Dachy
Venue – Tony Garnier Hall
This second edition reconsidered a century of avant-garde movements in the light of the “Dada/ Fluxus” pairing. Fifty artists showed major works of 20th-century art and specially-produced pieces. Painters, poets, novelists and philosophers who have shaken up the definition of art – from Malevitch to Basquiat via Duchamp, Warhol, Nam June Paik and Bill Viola – gathered in Lyon to highlight the interactions between the century’s visual-art and verbal transformations.
The 1993 Biennale hosted 89,000 visitors.
Curators – Thierry Raspail and Thierry Prat
Venues – Tony Garnier Hall, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art
The inaugural edition, The Love of Art, 22 years after the Pompidou exhibition, produced a survey of creative venues in France. Sixty-nine artworks by as many artists were exhibited for the first time. Over four weeks, this first Biennale drew 77,000 visitors and earned itself a European audience.
The Lyon Biennale sets a global benchmark, and today stands in the very front rank of the art world.
The Lyon Biennale: France’s rival to Venice.
France’s most important contemporary art event has elevated Lyon to major art centre status.
The Lyon Biennale today is undeniably the foremost art event in our country.
A Biennale for and with everyone. It has a generous heart.
A high point in the international art calendar, the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale is gaining fresh impetus in 2019.
This 15th edition of the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale is devised as an ecosystem at the intersection of biological, economic and cosmogonic landscapes. It bears witness to the shifting relationships between human beings, other living species, the mineral kingdom, technological artefacts and the stories that unite them.
Echoing Lyon’s geography, the title of the 15th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale is Where Water Comes Together with Other Water, taken from a Raymond Carver poem. For the first time, in addition to the Museum of Contemporary Art (macLYON) and many associate venues, the Biennale is being held in the deserted halls of the former Fagor factory, in the heart of the Gerland district.
Around fifty artists of all generations and many nationalities, with gender parity, have been invited to make site-specific works.
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.
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 29,000 sqm 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.
Art historian, trained at the University of Lyon 2 and at the École du Louvre, with a specialization in museology and contemporary art, Isabelle Bertolotti has just been appointed to the artistic direction of the Lyon Biennale and the direction of the macLyon. Previously in charge of exhibitions at macLyon since 1995, she was co-founder and artistic co-director since 2002 of Rendez-vous, an event dedicated to the emerging French and international scene at the Lyon Biennale. Since 2008, it has been organising the export of the event on stages outside Europe: Shanghai in 2008 and 2010, Cape Town in 2012, Singapore in 2015, Beijing in 2017 and Havana in 2018.
Isabelle Bertolotti is also an independent curator specialising in the emerging international scene and president of WARDA, the association of higher art and design schools in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, which manages 40 artists' studios and supports around 100 artists in exhibition and publishing projects.