La Biennale de Lyon: Manifesto of Fragility

11 September 2022 - 31 January 2023

Various Locations, Lyon, FR

Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, the 16th Lyon Biennale manifesto of fragility proceeds with the announcement of its curatorial framework, participating artists and institutional partners that will come together to realize the Biennale’s multifaceted exhibitions and programs. Seeking opportunities for dialogue across historical, geographical and socio-political distances, manifesto of fragility will facilitate innovative, multidirectional possibilities for creative cooperation. These collaborative processes, which will already begin to unfold in the months leading up to the Biennale’s September 2022 opening in Lyon, will yield 50 new artistic commissions and productions within a decentralized program that will materialize across numerous sites. Many works will be adapted to the unique architectural contexts in which they will be shown, including several large-scale immersive installations. The Biennale will expand beyond its customary venues in Lyon into locations throughout the city in order to welcome the participation of the broadest possible public.

manifesto of fragility is structured along two distinct axes that function as complimentary conduits for the Biennale’s consideration of fragility: A horizontal, geographical line carries the contributions of 87 contemporary artists from 39 countries engaging with the topic of fragility in a wide range of artistic practices. A vertical, temporal line will deliver more than 100 historical artworks and objects spanning two millennia on loan from several diverse collections in Lyon and abroad. The Biennale posits a point of intersection between the two axes to initiate a focused exploration of fragility within the context of the dazzling yet tumultuous 1960s era of Beirut’s so-called Golden Age, featuring 230 artworks by 34 artists and more than 300 archival documents from nearly 40 collections worldwide. This section of the biennale acquires added poignance in Lyon, given the city’s historical entanglements with Beirut centred around the 19th century silk trade, and the establishment of the French Mandate in 1920.

The artists taking part in the 16th Lyon Biennale bring diverse approaches to the focal theme of fragility that represent varied understandings of our current state of global uncertainty. The Biennale appeals to a broad coalition of international artists to share in building a nuanced patchwork of narratives illuminating moments of resilience in the face of social, political and environmental upheaval The artists gathered around the Biennale embody various faces of fragility, some in the issues they tackle, and others in the materials they use. What their works have in common is the potential to inform our thinking about generative paths of resistance.

manifesto of fragility emphasizes the importance of individual encounters in gaining insight into the circumstances that shape our contemporary realities. Many of the artists share an awareness of the architectural and historical specificities of their surroundings. This sensitivity allows for rigorous points of contact between coexisting identities, communities and histories that can activate dynamic societal changes. Seeking collaborative actions that can bridge divides and build communal responses to global conditions, the 16th Lyon Biennale engages an expansive network of artists practicing in cities across the globe, including: Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Basel, Beirut, Berlin, Bogota, Brussels, Cape Town, Casablanca, Copenhagen, Cork, Dhaka, Dubai, Geneva, Ghent, Guadalajara, Helsinki, Jeddah, Lagos, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Marrakesh, Marseille, New York, Oslo, Paris, Riga, Riyadh, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Stockholm, Strasbourg, Toulon, Vienna and Warsaw.

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