La galerie de la Biennale
For the Biennale Huang Yong Ping has reinstalled "Tête d’Or", originally created for the exhibition "The Monk and the Demon" at MACLyon in 2004. Built on the roof of the museum and thus overlooking Lyon’s Tête d’Or Park, the work borrows the assemblage techniques used for the framework of a Song Dynasty pavilion. The gold leaf used references an urban legend which has it that in 1853 a Jewish merchant buried a golden head of Christ in the park. "A roof is not necessarily oriented upwards," says Huang Yongping, "just as a head can sometimes be bent downwards…Everything can evolve, change and be reincarnated. Just as a vanished head of Christ can be transformed into a Song pavilion. Only the inherent property of gold neither deteriorates nor alters. The Chinese gold of today and the French gold of yesterday are identical."
Yong Ping HUANG
Tête d'Or, 2004
Photos: Blaise Adilon
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An authorial biennale rooted in a museum project

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.


Les partenaires de la biennale

The Biennale of Lyon is a Les Biennales de Lyon event

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