It has to be said: the new location of the Biennale Lyon is a fascinating environment with lots and lots of character. It is a former factory with immense halls with all of the emblems of the former function still in place. The floor is covered with lines, numbers and traces who are reminders of the former work processes and the walls are covered in colors and graffiti. And all this character combined with the sheer size of the factory forms a problem. As the organisers have chosen to present the works in a kind of open office style, the works have to compete not only with the other art but also with the building itself. And yes, there are some (steampunkish) works who indeed did brute-force win this competition but a lot of the works are too subtle and fragile to survive.
But despite the suboptimal environment, there is also a lot to like here. Our favourites were the beautiful videos and 3d prints of Eva L’Hoest, the liquid crystal installation of Gustave Metzger, the magma-like water flow of Minouk Liem, the dancing puppets of Fernando Palma Rodriguez, the desert of Stepane Tidet and the steampunk installation of Thomas Feuerstein.
All in all: although the building is way too present and the works too entangled with each other so therefore a lack of focus for the visitors, this part of the biennale is absolutely worth the trip. But next time in 2021 we hope it will be the Sucriere again, a much better place for an art fair.