The city of Xijing (西京, "West Capital") does not yet exist on the maps, and yet it is the geographical pendant to Beijing (北京, "North Capital"), Nanjing (南京, "South Capital) and Tokyo (東京, "East Capital"). For several years now the Xijing Men – Gimhong Sok from Korea, Chen Shaoxiong from China and Ozawa Tsuyoshi from Japan – have been the embodiment, in every possible way, of a potential micro-nation that moves with the exhibitions they take part in – and which comprises three citizens from three nations long enmeshed in relationships of radical hostility. After their organisation of parallel Olympics in Beijing and the chance "discovery" of forged historical texts, the Xijing Men have "reconstructed" for the Biennale a model apartment – that of the president of Xijing Land – surrounded by sand and cactus. The Xijing flag and various videos bring the final touch to a project whose goal is the integration of Xijing as a city in its own right into the virtual world of Google and interactive maps.
With the support of the City of Lyon botanical gardens.
The Lyon Biennale stemmed from a project by Lyon's Museum of Contemporary Art, directed by Thierry Raspail since its inception in 1984. From 1984-1988, the Biennale was preceded by an annual event entitled "October of the Arts", which ended with the exhibition "Colour Alone": The Experience of Monochrome". This retraced the adventure of monochrome, from the beginnings of Impressionism and the historical avant-gardes to topical work by artists ranging from Malevitch to Anish Kapoor. Staged in various venues around the city, "Colour Alone" was highly successful, making its mark and illustrating Lyon's potential for hosting an international event, following the Paris Biennale's closure in 1985. The event gave rise to the inaugural Lyon Biennale in September 1991.
The desire to create an event capable of artistic self-renewal while building a stable, long-term project that bonded with its host territory led to an organisational model specific to the Lyon Biennale: an Artistic Director builds the event's identity over time, and for each edition chooses a curator/ curators with whom he collaborates closely to devise an artistic project.
The Lyon Biennale is therefore truly an authorial biennale and, as Jean-Hubert Martin noted, "a clever way of having themes addressed through the personalities of others". Each biennale provides the opportunity to explore a specific issue. Its nine editions thus far have formed three successive trilogies: the first devoted to History, the second to Globalisation, and the third to Temporality. They have been curated by an international array of art historians, critics and professional curators including: Harald Szeemann, Jean-Hubert Martin, Le Consortium (with Robert Nickas and Anne Pontégnie), Stéphanie Moisdon and Hans Ulrich Obrist, and now, in 2009, Hou Hanru.
The Biennale of Lyon is a Les Biennales de Lyon event