Victoria Noorthoorn appointed curator for the 2011 Lyon Biennale

Thierry Raspail, artistic director of the Lyon Biennale, has chosen Victoria Noorthoorn to curate the 11th edition, which will run from 15 September to 31 December 2011 (professional preview: 13-14 September).

Victoria Noorthoorn, 39, is a freelance curator based in Buenos Aires.

She has worked as Projects Coordinator of the International Program at MoMA, New York; as Assistant Curator of Contemporary Exhibitions at The Drawing Center, New York; and as Curator of Malba-Fundación Costantini in Buenos Aires. In 2004, she began working as a freelance curator on exhibition projects in Buenos Aires, Santiago, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Cali, Pontevedra and New York. She conceived and installed the permanent collection of the new branch of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Neuquén, Argentina (2004); was Chief Curator of the 29th Pontevedra Art Biennial (2006) in Spain; collaborated on the presentation of Argentinian artist León Ferrari at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007) – which won the Golden Lion – and co-curated the Ricardo Garabito retrospective (2007) at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires. She also curated the exhibition Beginning With A Bang! From Confrontation to Intimacy. An Exhibition of Argentine Contemporary Artists 1960 / 2007 at The Americas Society, New York (2007). In 2008 she co-curated the 41st Salón Nacional in Cali, Colombia, with Colombian artists Wilson Díaz, José Horacio Martínez, Oscar Muñoz and Bernardo Ortiz. The event comprised 17 exhibitions by local curators and three major international exhibitions: Questioning the Image, Presentation and Representation, and Participation and Poetics.

In association with Chilean artist and exhibition curator Camilo Yáñez, Noorthoorn won the international competition to select the artistic directors of the 7th Mercosul Biennial, held from September to November 2009 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The duo invited eight Latin American artists (Erick Beltrán, Lenora de Barros, Marina De Caro, Roberto Jacoby, Artur Lescher, Laura Lima, Mario Navarro and Bernardo Ortiz) to study ways in which artistic practices can impart structure to the operating system of the biennial-as-institution. The artists organised exhibitions, developed translation tools for areas ranging from art to education, structured the publications system, and planned systems for communicating to the media, among others. The biennial lasted 40 days, with nearly 300 artists taking part in the seven exhibitions and three programmes (on mediation, editorial and radio).

Noorthoorn is currently preparing a retrospective of the artist Marta Minujín for Malba-Fundación Costantini, which opens in November 2010 in Buenos Aires.

11th Biennale de Lyon convictions

  1. Imagination is the primary medium of knowledge.
  2. Imagination allows for the rational and the irrational to coexist productively.
  3. Imagination is the primary force for emancipation.
  4. A Terrible Beauty Is Born, a verse from the poem Easter, 1916 by William Butler Yeats that gives the title to this Biennale, brings together two apparent opposites. We are interested in this structure of productive contradiction.
  5. This Biennale intends to address a state of confusion in the arts today, where art is conceived primarily as a commodity in the economic market.
  6. This exhibition does not chronicle; it distinguishes between art and journalism.
  7. It also distinguishes between art and communication. We resist the notion of the need to explain dense materials. If texts are to appear in the Biennale, or the catalogue, they will be artworks in themselves, not external explanatory texts.
  8. With W.J.T. Mitchell, we ask what the images and works in this exhibition want and do. We intend to signal the power of the image, one that may drastically alter an established order.
  9. We are not interested in the representation of the political, nor do we intend to enact the political. Such desires would be redundant.
  10. The 11th Biennale de Lyon is being conceived from Buenos Aires, in South America, for and with Lyon. The artists in the exhibition have been selected as individuals and not as representatives of their countries of origin or regions.
  11. The 11th Biennale de Lyon has the ambition to be alive. If it could be considered an animal or a beast, it would choose to be so. If it can be at war with itself, it will attempt to do so.
  12. It also distinguishes between art and communication. This Biennale resists the current modes of communication whereby an exhibition is explained through a press release written in exactly the same tone and vocabulary from whichever corner of the world. We resist the notion of the need to explain dense materials. If texts are to appear in the Biennale or the catalogue, they will be artworks in themselves, not external explanatory texts.
  13. Since Antiquity, words have been, above all, images, and images, words. Writing has been image-making. They both embodied one meaning and one action. The creation of an image implies opening the door to a consecutive action to take place in the real. It is this performative action that we are interested in exploring.
  14. Every image has an effect. This exhibition has been structured reflecting upon these effects. We share the convictions of W.J.T. Mitchell when we choose to ask what the images and works in this exhibition want and do, what it is that they move and how, rather than what they represent. We intend to signal the power of the image, one that may drastically alter an established order. In this regard, we believe in the practice of image-making – however fictional, rarefied, or disguised it might appear – as, above all, a practice whereby the creator of the image enacts an ideological stance.
  15. We are interested in reflecting upon the power of the line as a crucial tool to demarcate a territory, to delineate a position in time, space, and ideology.
  16. This is how we respond to the growing confusion between art and politics. For us, the artist is above all a political subject and art is politics. We are not interested in the representation of the political, nor do we intend to enact the political. Such desires would be redundant.
  17. The 11th Biennale de Lyon is being conceived from Buenos Aires, in South America, for and with Lyon. The artists in the exhibition have been invited during research travels in Europe and Africa during the past year, and they have been selected as individuals and not as representatives of their countries of origin or regions.
  18. In many cases, artists were invited to respond to each other. That is to say, they have been invited to solve specific problems or to enter into a dialogue with other participating artists. This exhibition thus results from a grand series of conversations, a modus operandi that results from a belief in the power of dialogue for the construction of any given project.
  19. The 11th Biennale de Lyon has the ambition to be alive. If it could be considered an animal or a beast, it would choose to be so. If it can be at war with itself, in order to speak of the inexplicability of the present and to the force of art, it will attempt to do so.

The 11th Biennale de Lyon will include around 70 artists from around the globe, primarily from Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Invited artists

Gabriel Acevedo Velarde; Ayreen Anastas & Rene Gabri; The Arctic Perspective Initiative; Zbynek Baladran; Ernesto Ballesteros; Lenora de Barros; Hannah Van Bart; Eduardo Basualdo; Samuel Beckett & Daniela Thomas; Erick Beltrán; Diego Bianchi; Guillaume Bijl; Pierre Bismuth; Arthur Bispo do Rosário; Katinka Bock; Ulla von Brandenburg; Fernando Bryce; François Bucher; John Cage; Augusto de Campos; Marina de Caro; Center for Historical Reenactments; Virginia Chihota; Robbie Cornelissen; Julien Discrit; Marlene Dumas; Morton Feldman; Robert Filliou; Stano Filko; Aurélien Froment; Alberto Giacometti; Milan Grygar; Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige; Arturo Herrera; Michel Huisman; Jessica Hutchins; Yun-Fei Ji; Christoph Keller; Lúcia Koch; Eva Kotátkova; Robert Kusmirowski; Luciana Lamothe; Moshekwa Langa; Ruth Laskey; Kemang Wa Lehulere; Christian Lhopital; Laura Lima; Jarbas Lopes; Jorge Macchi; Cildo Meireles; Laurent Montaron; Bernardo Ortiz; The Otolith Group; Sarah Pierce; José Alejandro Restrepo; Tracey Rose; Alexander Schellow; Gabriel Sierra; Elly Strik; Neal Tait; Javier Téllez; Barthélémy Toguo; Erika Verzutti; Judi Werthein; Lynette Yiadom-Boakye; Héctor Zamora.