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11/03/2020 News

Supporting the Lyon Biennale to Empower People and Improve Social Cohesion Through Art

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Supporting the Lyon Biennale to Empower People and Improve Social Cohesion Through Art

Écoles de Production visit the Biennale
A partnership with Fondation Total

For the 15th Lyon Biennale, Écoles de Production supported by Fondation Total were asked to take part so that their students could help produce the artworks of exhibiting artists.

The students got to talk with the artists and help make artworks intended for the Fagor factory and macLYON.

They saw the fruits of their efforts during guided tours of the exhibits where they also had a chance to view the other works on display at the Biennale.


A student:

At first it’s almost unrecognizable. We start with just the raw materials here with medium wood but the final result is great. It’s gratifying; we’re quite proud. We helped make a well-known artwork.


Thank for watching the partnership with Écoles de Production.

The 15th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale was held from September 16, 2019 to January 5, 2020. Supported by Total Foundation, the event was a perfect illustration of the meeting point between our commitments to art and intercultural dialogue, youth inclusion and regional vitality in our host communities. Find out more about this exciting social experience.


This year, the 15th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale, entitled Where Water Comes Together to Meet Other Water, took over a number of sites in the city, including the entire macLYON museum and 29,000 square meters of the disused Fagor factory. Works were also displayed throughout the surrounding Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region as part of events such as Veduta, Résonnance and Associated Exhibitions, calling on and bringing together artists, residents, companies and the galleries, schools, nonprofits and institutions involved in the local art scene. The Palais de Tokyo and its team of seven artistic directors was invited to curate the event for the first time. Almost all the works were created especially for the occasion, drawing on technical and industrial expertise from businesses in the region.

Inviting people with limited access to culture to attend the Biennale

As well as providing funding for the event, Total Foundation helped organize the nonprofits day on December 12, 2019, inviting 192 senior members of staff and beneficiaries of the nonprofits it supports in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, including Apprentis d’Auteuil, Sport dans la Ville and Handishare, to attend.

Showcasing the skills of young people in training programs

The Biennale, in partnership with Total Foundation, was also an opportunity for students from Production Schools1 to take part in creating the art as a way to showcase their skills and expand their horizons. Young people from the Giraudière and Boisard Production Schools made wooden pieces needed for works by Felipe Arturo, Ashley Hans Scheirl & Jakob Lena Knebl, Bronwyn Katz, and Dewar & Gicquel. To foster open dialogue and share ideas, artists Daniel Dewar and Felipe Arturo also visited the schools to talk to the young people about their work, choose wood with them and give them advice and guidance. Lastly, the students and their project leaders were invited to attend the exhibition.

Making art accessible to everyone, everywhere

At the same time, Total Foundation – in partnership with the Biennale and Lyon’s Slika gallery – gave free reign to artist Eltono in Total service stations in Communay Sud and Gerland. Eltono’s installations focused on signage, using an array of multicolored boards inviting viewers to imagine the kind of messages they could display. His fun, geometric approach, awash with color, was a way to bring art to the very heart of the region.


The Lyon Biennale in figures:

  • 273,000 visitors
  • 56 international artists
  • 242 artworks


1 These schools, supported by Total Foundation, prepare young people for vocational qualifications using an innovative educational model based on real-life situations.