Biennale de Lyon reveals curator

The Biennale de Lyon kicks off a new trilogy that will explore the word ‘modern’ and Ralph Rugoff is appointed curator for the 2015 Biennale.

Ralph Rugoff

Ralph Rugoff

‘For 2015, and until 2019, I have chosen to explore MODERN, both a substantive and a qualifier. Modern is not modernism, nor is it modernity; but it can contain them, grab them, express them. What’s more, we know perfectly well, and have done for a long time – at least since Rimbaud – that “one must be absolutely modern”.’

So says Thierry Raspail, artistic director of the Biennale de Lyon, in a press release. Since 1991 Raspail has chosen a single word that the individual curators of three successive editions are asked to base their curatorial strategies in. After the last three editions, 2009-2013, where the word “transmission” was explored, Raspail now kicks off a new trilogy from 2015-2019 around the word “modern”.

‘I have entrusted the first part of this modern trilogy to Ralph Rugoff, who will curate the 2015 edition. Needless to say, our intention is not to define the modern, but to report novel experiences of it which artists are turning into history,’ Rapsial goes on to say.

The curator
Ralph Rugoff is Director of the Hayward Gallery in London, where he was appointed in 2006. There he has curated groupexhibitions such as Psycho Buildings: Artists Take On Architecture, Invisible: Art About the Unseen 1957-2012, and The Alternative Guide to the Universe, as well as solo exhibitions with Ed Ruscha, George Condo, Jeremy Deller and Tracey Emin.

Before Hayward, from 2000-2006, Rugoff was Director of the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco. Prior to that, he worked as an independent curator and critic. As a writer, Rugoff has contributed essays to a wide range of catalogs and books, writing about artists such as Paul McCarthy and Luc Tuymans. In 2005, he won the inaugural Ordway Prize for Criticism and Curating from the Penny McCall Foundation in the United States. Rugoff has also served as a judge for the 2013 Turner Prize and the 2010 British Council selection committee for the Venice Biennale.

The Biennale
The Biennale de Lyon stems from a project by the Lyon’s Museum of Contemporary Art, directed by Thierry Raspail in 1984. Following the Paris Biennale’s closure in 1985 the Biennale proceeded by an annual event from 1984–1988 entitled October of the Arts. This event gave rise to the Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art in 1991.

The 2013 edition of Biennale de Lyon was curated by Gunnar Kvaran, director of Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, under the title Meanwhile… Suddenly, and Then. Previous curators include Harald Szeemann, Nicholas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans, Stéphanie Moisdon and Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Hou Hanru.

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