lyon

View of Biennale de Lyon 2007, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon. Left: Claire Fontaine, Untitled (identité, souveraineté et tradition), 2007. Photo: Blaise Adilon.

the Biennale de Lyon 2007

Various Venues

View of Biennale de Lyon 2007, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon. Left: Claire Fontaine, Untitled (identité, souveraineté et tradition), 2007. Photo: Blaise Adilon.

THE BIENNALE DE LYON 2007, as conceived by curators Stéphanie Moisdon and Hans-Ulrich Obrist, was an attempt to write the history of the current decade—“a decade that has not yet been named.” To give an account of a period still in progress is an endeavor either absurdly poetic or absurdly hubristic, and the biennial, as it spilled over three main venues—the Musée d’Art Contemporain, a large former warehouse called La Sucrière, and the Institut d’Art Contemporain—was a little of both.

At the core of this conflicted sense was the biennial’s very premise. Seven months before the exhibition’s opening in September, Moisdon and Obrist announced that the show would be structured like a “game”: Forty-nine “players” (otherwise known as curators) were each asked to choose one artist or work that “has a vital place in this decade.” This was, in other words, a simple game—so

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