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Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale: An Exciting Social Experience Supporting the Region

The Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale has been a highlight of the international art calendar since it was launched in 1991, attracting over 300,000 visitors in 2017. The 15th edition will be held between September 18, 2019 and January 5, 2020, taking on a whole new dimension. For the first time, Total Foundation is the main partner of the event, which echoes its commitment to supporting young artists, intercultural dialogue, regional vitality in our host communities and youth inclusion.

Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale

This year’s Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale, entitled Where Water Comes Together to Meet Other Water, will be held throughout the entire macLYON museum, as well as 29,000 square meters of the disused Fagor factory in the center of the Gerland district. Works will also be displayed as part of events such as Veduta, Résonnance and Associated Exhibitions throughout the surrounding Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. The exhibitions will bring together the 12 departments in the region and foster contact between artists, residents and the galleries, schools, nonprofits and institutions involved in the local art scene.

The Palais de Tokyo and its team of seven artistic directors have been invited to curate the exhibition. Addressing the theme of landscapes, the 50 selected artists of all ages and from diverse backgrounds will each produce a piece of site-specific art that encompasses the history, architecture and socio-economic fabric of the location. 

The works will be created on site, thanks to partnerships between artists and regional businesses that specialize in a diverse range of industries, such as metalwork, chemicals, textiles and construction. “Total has been present in the Rhône-Alpes region for over 50 years. Through our partnership with the Biennale, we hope to encourage the unifying nature of this event, which brings different stakeholders and communities together from across the region as part of a collaborative experience,” said Anne-Claire Lienhardt, head of Cultural Dialogue and Heritage in Total’s Civil Society Engagement Department.

On top of offering financial support, Total Foundation is committed to engaging young people, in particular the students from the Bassin Lyonnais Écoles de Production. This network of Total Foundation-sponsored institutions prepares young people for vocational qualifications using an innovative educational model based on real-life situations and genuine orders. As part of the project, some of the students are helping to create pieces of art, such as the works by Felipe Arturo and the duo formed by Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel. “This collaboration is a great opportunity for these young people to expand their horizons, showcase their skills and develop self-confidence and pride in their work,” Anne-Claire Lienhardt explains. 

The Biennale is a stepping-stone into the world of art, offering valuable encounters between artists and students, art and industry, local residents and international guests. For this reason, it will truly be an exciting social experience.