Project presentation of Veduta
“A neighbourhood is not just a collection of buildings but a tissue of social relations and a cluster of warm personal sentiments”1
Artworks on show at the swimming pool, at the laundrette, at the police station and in a white cube built from scratch; an opera singer in a shopping centre; rose water being distilled outside blocks of flats; flying cows, and a soccer match with three teams… Just a few examples of the many ways in which art has occupied public spaces in the Lyon metro area with Veduta since 2007. Part of the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale, Veduta is an experimental space without walls, for hosting pieces of visual art. Based around a shared, common and collective experience of art, Veduta proposes situations whose main actors are cities and users – those who look and who, in this case, also make. In each edition, these situations generate points of contact and convergence between these voluntary experimenters and artists, artworks and cities. They all meet, debate and create together.
“Art can cease to be a report on sensations and become a direct organization of higher sensations. It is a matter of producing ourselves, and not things that enslave us.”2
The Italian term “veduta”, used by Renaissance painters, is generally translated as “view”. It describes an open window that breaks a painting’s perspective, encouraging the spectator to look “outside”. Within the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale, Veduta invites people to shift their gaze and question what they see, how they see it, and how it is (re)presented. This window opens onto diverse metro areas in the midst of urban renewal, where people – irrespective of age, gender, or social and geographic origin – agree to take inspiration from the artworks and artists in order to experiment with, develop, transform, ingest, digest and deploy the potential of art. They thus explore the stages of the visual creative process – conceiving, conveying, disseminating. A group of several people devise the conditions of an act, an idea, a thought, an exhibition or an attitude with regard to the art, in order to take part in “permanent creation”3.
“Poetry must be made by all. Not by one.”4
In 2019, seven curators are conceiving the international exhition. Likewise, Veduta is giving rise to collective dynamics in the social space. Through residences, exhibitions and strolls, Veduta makes visible the flows, movements and possibilities at work in the heart of a dozen metropolitan landscapes with multiple realities. It is here that communities are born by doing. The idea is to create with others rather than alone, horizontally rather than top-down, over a long timescale, and in the places of everyday life. The activation of these projects reveals the respective sites’ physical, social, cultural and environmental dimensions. In return, the creative and artistic processes are contaminated by the dynamics of the host territories.
“Landscape is all the forms which, at a given moment, express what remains of the relationships that have succeeded one another in a given place (…). Space is these forms plus the life that animates them.”5
Artists in residence, relocated artworks and nomadic experiments are hosted in various public spaces to offer encounters between cultures, habits and desires. They give rise to rebellious plants and thoughts of caffeine, an unexpected escape, and landscapes by turns natural, telluric and quotidian. Fauna and flora have their say, and the possibility to suggest real or functional narratives. Users appropriate satire, contributing their “know-how” to make a few leaps forward while keeping an eye on the past.
“The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city.”6
Adeline Lépine, Head of Veduta
- 1 Lewis Mumford about Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Random House, New York, 1961 in The New Yorker, 15th of December 1962, p.150
- 2 Guy Debord, Theses on Cultural Revolution – published in the Internationale Situationniste review, issue 1, June 1958, translated by John Shepley
- 3 As devised by Robert Filliou
- 4 Isidore Ducasse, Poetry II in Complete Works, Éditions José Corti, 1953, p. 386
- 5 Milton Santos, The Nature of Space, Paris, l’Harmattan, 1997
- 6 David W. Harvey, The Right to the City, an expanded version of the article first published in New Left Review, issue 53, 2008