Felipe Arturo, Caffeine Thoughts, soon at Lyon Biennial

Lyon Biennial
Curator : Claire Moulène
18.09.2019 – 05.01.2020

Humorous yet critical of contemporary society, Taus Makhacheva’s works examine classical forms of historiography, dominant cultural conventions and gender issues. Raised in Moscow with cultural origins from the Caucasus region of Dagestan, she focuses on what happens when different cultures and customs meet and co-exist.

Her work for the Biennale evolves from the story of the hot air balloon Le Flesselles, which made its one and only flight in Lyon on January 19, 1784 as the whole city was watching. Constructed by over 150 people, the aircraft, in the words of the artist, embodies “the meeting materialisation of Lyon’s social fabric at that time,” but also reflects “the fears and fascinations aroused by new technology.” Inspired by the pedagogical methods of costume design at Lycée La Martinière Diderot in Lyon, “a meticulous time-travelling of sorts,”
Taus Makhacheva produced a metaphorical replica of this rst hot air balloon.

Combining students’ expertise in dressmaking techniques with materials from various eras, such as crinoline, she addresses rigid structures which were, at the time, often criticized as instruments of oppression but also celebrated as markers of private space under protec- tion. Suspended in the air, the balloon looks like “a patchwork of irregular shapes, recounting in sewing stitches a history of technology and fashion, of tools and bodies.”