I have two loves...well this is France, after all!
DISCLAIMER: This video report contains some very good art and some very bad singing.
I’ll admit it, France is a sexy country. Just look at some of its star acting and musical exports; Bridgette Bardot, Eva Green, Vanessa Paradis - they should be known as sexports. If they could contribute to France's GDP, the country's debt crisis wouldn't exist. However hard I try, my hair will never look stylishly messy, my make-up will never be come-hitherly smudged and I will never have French legs - the straight-up-and-down sort that look more like matchsticks. Audrey Hepburn-esque cropped trousers have no place in my wardrobe.
So given that I have now completely convinced you, dear Reader, about France's sexiness, you will not be surprised to learn that even an exhibition about immigration gets a sexy, rather adulterous, title in France - J’ai Deux Amours (‘I have two loves’).
Featuring over 100 pieces of contemporary art from their permanent collection, this is an exhibition put on by the Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration to examine how immigration contributes to French life.
It's a fascinating show, that's thoughtfully curated. All the works on display come from the Cité's impressive contemporary art collection; a collection that is made up primarily of works by foreign artists who live and work in France, or French artists who live and work abroad. Each piece here looks at the process of immigration in either physical or psychological contexts, sometimes both. It also displays the incredible richness that migration, and particularly immigration, can bring to a country's artistic dialogue.
This is a very timely exhibition. With France in the throes of presidential election fever, immigration's been high on the political agenda.
In his campaign manifesto, President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to halve the number of immigrants moving to France. As for Marine Le Pen, leader of the increasingly popular far-right National Front, she's repeatedly warned that immigration is destroying the French identity and that multiculturalism can lead to all-out war.
So, for me anyway, it's was a breath of fresh air to see an exhibition that looked at immigration positively and in a very modern context.
I was fortunate enough to talks to the exhibition's curators, one of whom, Isabelle Renard, showed me around (take a look at my report above).
If you are in Paris, go take a look. J'ai Deux Amours is on until the end of June 2012 and is, I promise you, much better than yet another schlep around the Louvre…
Follow me! @katerinaf24