Sam Keogh, Where Water Comes Together With Other Water
15th Lyon Biennale
September 18, 2019–January 5, 2020
Artistic director: Isabelle Bertolotti
Guest curator: Palais de Tokyo’s curatorial team: Adélaïde Blanc, Daria de Beauvais, Yoann Gourmel, Matthieu Lelièvre, Vittoria Matarrese, Claire Moulène, Hugo Vitrani
Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art
The 15th Lyon Biennale is devised as an ecosystem at the intersection of biological, economic and cosmogonic landscapes. It bears witness to the frictions and shifting relationships between human beings, other living species, the mineral kingdom, technological artefacts and the open-ended stories that unite them.
For the Biennale, Sam Keogh takes on the colossal cutter-head of a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), constructing a parasitic installation of sculpture, collage and video around its base. A system of ‘prolapsed roots’ made of vacuum packed soil, trash and buddleia plants sprout from toilet bowls and penetrate clusters of painting and collage. Tangled into this structure are images of Japanese knotweed, an invasive plant which can grow through concrete; a wood-boring ‘shipworm’ mollusc which can infest the wooden hulls of boats; and the larvae of a moth which has chewed through about 150 pages of Doris Lessing’s The Good Terrorist. Also hanging from this structure is a projector, throwing a film onto the curved underside of the TBM. Subterranean tunnels, roots and worms connect the work’s various elements and pull the viewer through a composted aggregate of histories, places and materials
Echoing Lyon’s geography, the title of the 15th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale is Where Water Comes Together with Other Water, taken from a Raymond Carver poem . For the first time, and in addition to the Museum of Contemporary Art (macLYON) and many associate venues, the Biennale is being held in the deserted halls of the former Fagor factory, in the heart of the Gerland district in Lyon. This brownfield site—in whose remains the old industrial world is coinciding with an uncertain future—will host a system of political, poetic, aesthetic and environmental interactions. Where Water Comes Together with Other Water is an exhibition envisioned as a wrinkled landscape where each wave, ridge, peak, hollow and bifurcation opens onto new relationships and entanglements.
This landscape, at once journeying through history and bearing its mark, also charts a shift from the acme of Europe’s industrial age to its speculative demise in the 21st century.
The fruit of numerous collaborations between the artists and firms in Lyon and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, this 15th edition gathers artworks made according to the principle of short supply chains. 55 artists of all generations and many nationalities, with gender parity, have been invited to make site-specific works. Fostering dialogue with the actors on the ground and on the actual site, with its history and architecture, this latest edition of the Biennale highlights production by taking account of the socio-economic context in which it is set.
This new model is based on four complementary platforms that spread across the region: Veduta, Young International Artists, Associated Exhibitions and Résonance.
Rebecca Ackroyd (United Kingdom), Isabelle Andriessen (Netherlands), Jean-Marie Appriou (France), Felipe Arturo (Colombia), Bianca Bondi (South Africa/France), Malin Bülow (Sweden/Norway), Bureau des Pleurs (France), Stéphane Calais (France), Nina Chanel Abney (USA), Gaëlle Choisne (France), Yu-Cheng Chou (Taïwan), Lenka Clayton & Jon Rubin (United Kingdom/USA), Morgan Courtois (France), Daniel Dewar & Gregory Gicquel (United Kingdom/France/Belgium), Khalil El Ghrib (Morocco), Escif (Spain), Jenny Feal (Cuba/France), Thomas Feuerstein (Austria), Julieta García Vazquez & Javier Villa de Villafañe (Argentina), Petrit Halilaj (Kosovo/Germany), Dale Harding (Australia), Holly Hendry (United Kingdom), Karim Kal (Switzerland/France), Bronwyn Katz (South Africa), Sam Keogh (Ireland/Netherlands), Lee Kit (China/Taiwan), Eva L’Hoest (Belgium), Mire Lee (South Korea), Yona Lee (South Korea/New Zealand), Renée Levi (Turkey/Switzerland), Minouk Lim (South Korea), LYL Radio (France),Taus Makhacheva (Russia), Léonard Martin (France), Gustav Metzger (Germany/United Kingdom), Nicolas Momein (France), Shana Moulton (USA), Simphiwe Ndzube (South Africa/USA), Josèfa Ntjam (France), Fernando Palma Rodriguez (Mexico), Le peuple qui manque (France), Thao-Nguyên Phan (Vietnam), Abraham Poincheval (France), Stephen Powers (USA), Philippe Quesne (France), Marie Reinert (France/Germany), Megan Rooney (Canada/United Kingdom), Pamela Rosenkranz (Switzerland), Ashley Hans Scheirl & Jakob Lena Knebl (Austria/Germany), Aguirre Schwarz (France), Stéphane Thidet (France), Nico Vascellari (Italy), Trevor Yeung (China), Pannaphan Yodmanee (Thailand), Victor Yudaev (Russia/France), Mengzhi Zheng (China/France).