LYON, FRANCE.-The 2005 Lyon Biennial is an exhibition that takes into consideration the stages of its conception and proposes complementary themes interlinked by the concept of tem-porality, which has provided our common thread.
Addressing time was a way for us to draw up an inventory ;of the 1990s, when art began to function as a sort of editing bay on which artists could reconstruct everyday reality. They have tweaked the tempo at which forms change pausing, looping, delaying, synchronising, slowing down and speeding up. For the artists of the '90s, time is more a building material than a mere medium, and controlling the duration and the time protocols of exhibition has, like the controlling of space, become a major aesthetic issue.
This biennial seeks to reaffirm that a work of art is first and foremost an event before being a monument or a simple testimony; and that aesthetics are also a matter of energy. Eschewing the current temptation of a return to the tradi-tional categories of painting and sculpture (and video), we wanted to stress the fact that art is an experience that engages the spectator.
We have therefore considered the importance of the legacy ,of conceptual art (from Douglas Huebler to Josephine Meckseper, as well as John Miller, Erwin Wurm, Carsten Höller and Allora & Calzadilla) and of the Fluxus movement (Yoko Ono, Erik Dietman and Dieter Roth, and today Surasi Kusolwong and John Bock), for whom art-making time is inseparable from living time. Where are these explorations at today? Is there not a need to reassess certain practices that are still nourishing art?
This biennial will, in any case, be free of prospective mono-mania,
and will not subscribe to the rapid rotation of values that sometimes overly permeates large international exhibitions. Our preference is for a dialogue: between Dieter Roth and John Bock, between Tom Marioni and Erwin Wurm or Rivane Neuenschwander, between James Turrell and Ann Veronica Janssens, and so on. At the intersection of these avenues of thought is the concept of long duration: not slowness, which is a value judgement on time, but the project dimension. The long term is the time a project takes, the time sustainable development takes, which today is important to defend against gener-alised content-hopping and mercantile turnover. ,Our interest here is not in the Seventies in general but in the hippie experience as an attempt at a counter-culture, a laboratory of new forms of living. Indeed those years of emancipation and wholesale questioning of the status quo seem to contain, in a still-virulent form, all the problemat-ics of the early 21st century: feminism, multiculturalism, the struggle of sexual minorities, new age spirituality, identitarian and relational experience, ecology, orientalism, decolonisation, psychedelicism
But above all, they consti-tute a model for rejecting the consumer society. From zero growth to the return to nature, today's artists are still aspiring to subversion through happiness, though they are travelling other paths and proving to be less optimistic and more complex than their elders. Yet this 2005 biennial buzzes with the experimental spirit of '70s counter-culture, , featuring La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela, Terry Riley, Tony Conrad, Brian Eno, Yoko Ono, Tom Marioni, Robert Crumb, Gordon Matta-Clark, Robert Malaval, Jonas Mekas, Andy Warhol, James Turrell
Experiencing duration is not, however, a historical exhibition: our intention is not to stage a retrospective but to use the energy and patterns of those post-'68 years to shed light on the present.