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Biennale de Lyon 2017, Modernity without Complexities of Postmodernism

“Modernity” is the theme of 14th Lyon Biennale de Lyon (20.09 2017- 7.01 2018). This theme was set by Thierry Raspail, the artistic director, and was interpreted by curator Emma Lavigne as sublimated from heresy of postmodernism “Floating Worlds”/ “Mondes Flottants”. This exhibition presents works of 40 artists in 3 city venues and in different narrative structures: Expanded Poetry, Ocean of Sound, Archipelago of Sensation Electric Body, Inner Cosmos and Endless Circulation.

From modernity of the city we step into “platonic modernity” of Biennale venues. These venues are: MacLyon modern art museum, La Sucrière and B.Fuller’s dôme (with installation of C. Boursier-Mougenot).

Doug Aitken,“Sonic Fountain” image ©️biennaledelyon

Monochrome open space of La Sucrière presents Gordon Mattaclark’s, Hans Haacke’s, Susanna Fritscher’s artworks with recurring motifs of fluid, gravity, abstract movement.
Doug’s Aitken sound installation “Sonic Fountain”is an artificial lake filled with white liquid, taps are arranged above in a grid. Water rhythmically drips from taps above, microphones in the lake record the sound of the water dripping, and broadcast it into the space.
Jorinde Voigt combines drawing, music, science,  meteorological, geological  data. The drawings “Song of the Earth” visualise Gustav Mahler’s symphony and depict direction of the rotation of the Earth and the number of rotations per day.

“Modernity”, the key word of Lyon Biennale 2017 is dissolved in citations from the art of 60-70s. Objective clock time is replaced by subjective time of Henri Bergson’s durée. Most of the art pieces of “Floating worlds” are from 1960-70: 1959 Fuller dome,

Fuller, geodesic dome, 1957, collection of Pompidou center, image©️biennaledelyon

sculptures of Calder, 1967 Haacke’s silk rippling sheet, Breer’s “sculptures in motion”: rugs with small invisible wheels that move discreetly within the exhibition space – are dated 1965-1969.

Artworks on show at the Mac Lyon, the second Biennale venue also remain within horizon of 1970 classic pieces. Movement, language, form, metaphor is the core of apolitical ontology of Hans Arp’s sculpture, Han Mancuska’s line of words hanging from a wire floating in space, “progressive destruction” of Lygia Pape’s architecture, Calder’s shapes suspended in space, etc.

“Floating Worlds” biennale closes on January 7th 2018, to be continued in Manifesta. Manifesta 12 in Palermo will address the themes of « Migration » and « Climate change ».

M.Godinho, “Forever Immigrant”, 2017, image artdecision. eu

Written by Irina Vernichenko

Irina Vernichenko
Art critic, art consultant, co-founder of Artdecision online art magazine and the founder of Art&signatures art web site