Agnès Varda is, to use her own description, "an old filmmaker and a young artist". Harrison Ford, Jacques Demy, Chris Marker, Jim Morrison, Sandrine Bonnaire and Jane Birkin are just some of the names dotted through a towering film oeuvre that combines confronting the issues of its time – feminism, poverty, etc. – with skilful use of collage and wordplay. After a lifetime spent affectionately recounting the lives of others, Varda has, for the last few years, taken to showing her work in installation form. Her "Cabanes" ("Huts") are designed as actual havens for herself and the visitor. The "Beach Hut" is intended both as a fisherman’s shelter – sheets of canvas stretched with rope – and as a projection booth for her film "The Mediterranean", with two r’s and one n, between Sète and Agde. "The Portrait Hut" contains sixty portraits: thirty women facing thirty men, all of them photographed living and working on the island of Noirmoutier. And then there’s The "Cinema Hut", built entirely out of 35mm film: "It’s cinema," says Agnès Varda, "because the light is held by the images. It’s a hut because we can take refuge inside and dream of the films we’ve enjoyed…You can even see Catherine Deneuve and Michel Piccoli as tiny faces in close-up."
With the help of the City of Lyon botanical gardens.
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