Sunday, October 30, 2005
In September I got to visit the 2005 Lyon Biennial, a show of contemporary art that's open until the end of the year in the city of Lyon in France. I interviewed the co-curators of the event Nicolas Bourriaud & Jérôme Sans. A team of critics and exhibition directors whose work includes the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art center in Paris. Bourriaud is a regular contributor to Beaux-Arts Magazine, Art Press and Flash Art. His work includes the exhibition “Touch” at the San Francisco Art Institute. Sans has been curator of exhibits in Stockholm and Milwaukee as well as the Taipei Biennale in Taiwan in 2000 and “Live” at Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2004. Interview with Bourriaud and Sans
The theme of the Lyon Biennial is "Experiencing Duration" about events and art that transcends time. The main venue for the Biennial is the Sucrière, a sugar storage warehouse on the Lyon riverfront that was renovated as a part of a larger project to revitalize the old port. As one enters a gently sloping ramp leads towards the former storage silos that form the reception area. Entering the warehouse itself, visitors follow the route formerly taken by the arriving sugar. The first work that they see is Andy Warhol’s 1963 movie “Sleep” a film of poet John Giomo doing just that for 8 hours. Among the other works that introduce the exhibit are Yoko Ono’s “Smile,” a 1968 film of John Lennon’s head and shoulders against a leafy green- background for the entire two-take film. The film consists of John going from a deadpan face to a full-on smile.
The Biennial also exhibited a room of the works of 1960s underground comic book artist R. Crumb whose retro work follows his sexual appetite for large woman and intersects with the lives of 60s cultural luminaries like Janie Joplin. Crumb lives in France.
The 60s era work, produced during a rebellious time marked by cultural upheaval and political radicalism contrasted with contemporary works that in some instances reflect a more sophisticated style. But the 60s works do reflect the energy of their time and together other recent works form a synergistic continuity. View my interview on French TV