15th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale… in 8 days!



This year the Lyon Biennale will be centered on the old Fagor factories in the Gerland district for the first time. Scheduled to open on 18 September and close on 5 January 2020, the Biennale has been titled “Where Water Comes Together With Other Water”, a reference to the geographical location of Lyon (confluence of the Rhône and the Saône), and is dedicated to the theme of landscape as a place of permanent transformation.

The curation of this 15th edition was entrusted to the team from Palais de Tokyo in Paris with a very specific mandate: 90% of the artworks must be produced specifically for the event and created in the Rhône-Alpes region in order to promote the region’s wealth by soliciting local know-how. Last summer, the former Director of the Palais de Tokyo, Jean de Loisy, asserted the importance of “using all the know-how of this industrial basin, one of the richest in Europe”… and his advice has indeed been followed. The local focus has involved numerous companies in the production and creation of the artworks, bringing them into closer contact with Contemporary art… and vice-versa.

The 29,000 m2 of ‘industrial wasteland’ (former Fagor plant) will be invested by 56 artists from all generations and all continents, of whom a quarter are French. The building’s facade and the event’s visuals have been worked by Stephen POWERS, an artist who made his mark in the graffiti milieu in the early 1980s. Pannaphan YODMANEE belongs to the new generation of Contemporary Thai artists. Trained in traditional Buddhist painting techniques, for the Biennale she has recreated an underground civilization representing some of the most significant events in the history of Southeast Asia… in large cement pipes. The Austrian artist Thomas FEUERSTEIN is presenting a marble sculpture that will gradually disappear during the Biennale, slowly devoured by stone-eating bacteria. Walking through a forest of metal by South African artist Bronwyn KATZ, we get a glimpse of Lyon’s history and topography in a mesh of shapes, materials and sounds. There will be ‘works’ by the experimental performer Abraham Poincheval  and the young and very promising Léonard MARTIN in partnership with the Venetian company Espace et Cie, which creates theater and film sets.

The Biennale is by no means confined to the vast Fagor space; there are manifestations throughout the region. The new format is organized around four complementary platforms: the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon, which is acting as an outgrowth of the main exhibition with 6 artists including the famous duo Gregory & Daniel GICQUEL & DEWAR; the Young International Creation which – as in the past – will occupy Villeurbanne’s Institute of Contemporary Art; Veduta which promotes meetings between artists and the region’s inhabitants; and a broad program of associated exhibitions, including exhibitions in Resonance with the Biennale at various galleries and cultural venues in the region. In all, the event will use 150 venues and will encompass not only the field of Contemporary Art but also literature, dance, theater, music and cinema.

An internationally recognised and appreciated artistic event, the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale is one of the five most important biennales after Venice. The previous edition attracted more than 300,000 visitors, its best-ever attendance. The 2019 edition is far more ambitious with larger spaces, major installations, deeper regional networking and unprecedented bridges between the art world and the world of business and commerce.


15th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale

From Wednesday, 18 September 2019 to Sunday, 5 January 2020

Various places including the Fagor Factories

65 rue Challemel Lacour, 69007 Lyon

Open from Tuesday to Friday
Weekends from 11am to 7pm
Nocturnes until 10pm on Fridays 27 Sept, 11 Oct, 15 Nov and 13 Dec.