The outcome of repeated explorations of Karachi, Bani Abidi’s drawings of safety barriers provide a topographic listing of the different types placed near embassies, airports and other "sensitive" spots; the aim being to preclude any likelihood of riots, assemblies or invasions of the buildings in question. Some of the barriers are overtly aggressive, others use plants as a form of ornamental disguise intended to make them merge with the surrounding urban furniture. In her drawings of intercoms produced according to the same principle, banality of form and greyness of colour evoke the bureaucratic. At the core of Bani Abidi’s oeuvre is official intrusion in its most overt and most discreet forms, as the artist humorously breaks down the mechanisms at work in these various modes of protection; by retaining only certain meaningful and quasi-decorative characteristics, as in a catalogue, she neutralises the basic function of these symbolic objects.
From 16 September 2009
We are living in the society of the spectacle. In spite of its alienating effects on our life and social relationships, it’s one of the very fundamental conditions of our existence. We perceive the world and communicate with each other through the spectacle – a system of image production and representation dominated by the logic of market capitalism which tends to “develop” our faculties of perception, imagination and reflection towards a “one dimensional model” formatted by the language of consumerist ideology. This is also the very contemporary condition of our self-identification and social order “guaranteed” by the established power system. As a main typology of artistic and cultural events of our time, biennials of contemporary art are no doubt an ultimate form of expression of such a tendency...
The first three Lyon Biennials - in 1991, 1993 and 1995 – were part of a largely historical perspective, from which problematics, stakes and themes were derived. The first one, called “The love of art”, chose to assess the situation of creation in France. Resolutely going against the trend, this biennial noted that since the so-called “Pompidou exhibition” (Paris 1969), no such far-reaching project had been imagined in France.
The European Biennial Network is a collaborative structure that aims to promote dialogue, interaction and collaboration between contemporary art biennials in Europe.
For more information : www.europeanbiennialnetwork.org
The Biennale of Lyon is a Les Biennales de Lyon event