artists & participants

press release

L’autre Harald Szeemann In the magnificent Halle Tony Garnier, the Lyon Biennial promises to be one of the most important events of the summer. Its theme is “L’Autre”.. But, far from illustrating an eternally-changing alterity, the way the exhibition puts itself forward is to place itself at the service of artists who are always “the others” for the spectators, who are themselves the other “others”. Thus, there is no illustration, and no commentary, but rather hard-hitting works. Against the unfortunate consequences of the proclamation that the end of the utopias is at hand, we want to set up the positive utopias of the artists, their revolutions of the visual, their sense of humour, poetry and optimism in a period that is most strongly marked by greyness. Thanks to their works, we want to enchant, to astonish, sometimes to shock. We seek the impossible: this is what will decide the future.

The exhibition starts with “L’Autre” in the region itself: “Le Palais Idéal”, constructed by postman Cheval, documents concerning “la Vierge au sable”, and “la maison natale” of Etienne-Martin, one of the great French sculptors, and a set of works by Ughetto, an artist from Lyon. Four representatives of the visual-arts revolution that took place at the end of the 1960s open the trajectory: Joseph Beuys, with his social sculpture; Richard Serra, with his mastery of weight and of unstable equilibrium; Bruce Nauman, who places sculpture directly in front of our eyes; and Hanne Darboven, with a work on the atom bomb, presented here for the first time. Starting from here, there are spaces that contain surprises: Francis Bacon and his twisted male figure stand in opposition to Franz Gertsch’s beautiful female faces and Jean-Olivier Hucleux’s “Jumelles”.

In Pipilotti Rist’s room, one can zap on this charming young artist’s video programmes. Stan Douglas shows us landscapes that move in and out of existence, and Douglas Gordon gives us an epic on hands. Gary Hill confronts us with the resignation and repressed revolt of foreign workers and jobless people.

Katharina Fritsch shows us a rare pheno-menon of nature: the king of rats. In a gigantic installation, Jason Rhoades confronts us with the life, the agitations, the adventure of his genitals. And the Chinese artists? They narrate the great epic of the cultural revolution, and the newer, more down-to-earth philosophy according to which, in Deng’s view, it is glorious to be rich (Pu Jie); they narrate the everyday activity of scratching oneself (Zhang Peili), and show us how meaningless the “Little Red Book” has become for the younger generation (Xu Yihui). To be cured otherwise is the theme of a major installation made up of 500 healing sculptures by Emery Blagdon, and Emma Kunz’s drawings of the polarisation of flowers.

Viennese “Actionism” presents us its art, which breaches the taboos (Brus, Muehl, Nitsch, Schwarzkogler). Rainer energises Messerschmidt’s faces and, regarding Kafka’s machine (in “The Penal Colony”), Friederike Pezold puts forward an alphabet of the body, her new Maya. Peter Hutchinson makes the letters of the alphabet disappear, and Raymond Hains pulls together the threads of events and places in an unsuspected way. Who still remembers the pneumatic postal service? Serge Spitzer puts together, in a chaos of tubes, a closed circuit of pushing and pulling. The purity of pollen, this element of the most intense yellow, this place of meditation: it is Wolfgang Laib who creates it for us.

But already the fascination of narcissism takes us over: the wide-eyed world of Elisàr von Kupffer, Eugene von Bruenchenhein’s portraits of Marie, Marie-Ange Guilleminot’s restrained emotions; and the “other” painting done by Jessica Stockholder and Polly Apfelbaum. Yukinori Yanagi’s drawing follows an ant. And the cinema, too, is other. The forty benches is a work by Franz West, and the programme is highly diverse: a young French soldier describes his life in Bosnia, in Chris Marker’s “Casque bleu”, and Charles Ray, in “Fashions”, shows us anti-fashion, as Valie Export, in “Remote… Remote…”, shows us her painful “displacement”. Matthew Barney exhibits his world, which vacillates between Busby Berkeley and Leni Riefenstahl ; the Greenberg studios set out all the virtualities in “Seven”, with the seven deadly sins.

And the life of objects: Gabriel Orozco presents us his single-seater D.S., and Chris Burden his steamroller, which he forces to fly. Such a large “non-aeroplane” mass has never been taking the air before. And there is the psychic suffering that generates a work. Louise Bourgeois shows us “Red Room (My Parents)”, Hans Danuser “Frozen embryo”. What can be said about the glorious splendour of fish adorned like courtesans? And Elmar Trenkwalder’s exotic garden in ceramic, or Nahum Tevet’s weird architecture. And who has ever seen an artist exhibit himself, like Chris0tian Jankowski, pigeon-fashion? All of this can be seen in Lyon between July 9 and September 24, in the great Halle Tony Garnier, where the bell will sound and pleasure will abound.

Harald Szeemann General Curator

At the begining of the century, the perspectives were inverted by three artists: Kazimir Malevitch, with the monochrome, Marcel Duchamp, with the manufactured object, and Kurt Schwitters, with the living.

Other Art.In 1993, the second Lyon Biennial intitled “Et tous ils changent le monde” incarnates this esthetic of unboundedness.

In 1995 the third Biennial, with the computer and the moving image, appears monster-like. Other Art.

But art which is in relation with the world. This is why, today, it seems more important to us than ever to favour an art that, paraphrasing Walter Benjamin, “keeps things from following their course” (otherwise, he added, they would lead up to a catastrophy). An art, as Robert Filliou had it, that is, to begin with, “a principle of poetical economy”, a wande ring form which shelters ideas.

And this is why it also seems necessary to us that “l’Autre” should not be exclusively perceived as otherness, need and fear, but also as link. Because he seems to us to be in harmony with all of this, we asked Harald Szeemann to create in the halle Tony Garnier a sensitive universe that would be, at the very least, “Autre”.

Thierry Prat, Thierry Raspail Artistic Directors Pressetext

4. Biennale de Lyon 1997 "L´Autre"
Kuratoren: Harald Szeemann, Thierry Prat, Thierry Raspail
Halle Tony Garnier

mit Martine Aballea, Polly Apfelbaum, Francis Bacon, Gilles Barbier, Matthew Barney, Joseph Beuys, Emery Blagdon, Louise Bourgeois, Rebecca Bournigault, Eugene von Bruenchenhein, Günter Brus, Lee Bul, Chris Burden, Ferdinand Cheval, James Coleman, Serge Comte, Kyle Cooper, Vincent Corpet, Hans Danuser, Hanne Darboven, Stan Douglas, Nathalie Elemento, Etienne Martin, VALIE EXPORT, Katharina Fritsch, Franz Gertsch, Douglas Gordon, Marie-Ange Guilleminot, Raymond Hains, Nicolas Herubel, Gary Hill, Richard Hoeck, An Hong, Jean-Olivier Hucleux, Peter Hutchinson, Fabrice Hybert, Richard Jackson, Christian Jankowski, Pu Jie, Jeff Koons, Svetlana & Igor Kopystiansky, Guillermo Kuitca, Emma Kunz, Elisar von Kupffer, Wolfgang Laib, Abigail Lane, Ingeborg Lüscher, Paul McCarthy, Machine Kafka, Chris Marker, Feng Mengbo, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, Yan Peiming, John Monteith, Mariko Mori, Otto Muehl, Juan Muñoz, Bruce Nauman, Hermann Nitsch, Gabriel Orozco, Philippe Parreno, Zhang Peili, Manfred Pernice, Friederike Pezold, Arnulf Rainer, Charles Ray, Lene Reckenfelder, Jason Rhoades, Pipilotti Rist, Allen Ruppersberg, Ute Schröder, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Richard Serra, Pierrick Sorin, Serge Spitzer, Jessica Stockholder, Nahum Tevet, Elmar Trenkwalder, Luc Tuymans, Henry Ughetto, John Waters, Franz West, Wang Xingwei, Yukinori Yanagi, Xu Yihui, Chen Zhen