The Cité Nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration decided, when it was created, to bring contemporary art into its collections. It enriches the historic and anthropologic perspective of artists' interpretation of exile, the notion of borders or the question of people's identity, increasingly present in a world of cultural, economic and digital mutations. From Kader Attia to Chen Zhen, from Mona Hatoum to Mathieu Pernot, from Bruno Serralongue to Djamel Tatah, «J'ai deux amours» (I have two loves) shows to what point thoughts on immigration inhabit art today.
A reference centre
The Cité Nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration that opened to the public in the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris, in 2007, is a cultural multidisciplinary institution as it holds a museum, a room for shows, a movie theatre, a library and a venue for debates. Together with the musée National de l'Histoire et des Cultures de l'Immigration (national museum on the history and culture of immigration), a cultural program, a centre of resources and of reference and a network of partners, its mission is to bring together, protect, give value and make accessible to the largest number of persons the history of immigration, and to have the public know and recognize the role immigration played in the building of France.
Immigration = transformation
In the exhibition «J'ai deux amours», «immigration, whether temporary or long lasting, is no longer a passage but rather a transformation» (Hou Hanru and Evelyne Jouanno, guest curators). Mobility, as seen by the artists, is not only geographic, it is also a way of living, of creating, of regenerating. Today's artists are citizens of the global village and are in transit between their original cultures and the cultural capitals of Paris, New York, Berlin, London, New Delhi or Beirut… Their works, often the reflection of these crossed-identities, are the proof of the tension felt in this uprooting and the latter becomes the venue itself of the artists' creativity.
An itinerary in five themes
Chen Zhen, Un-interrupted Voice 1998 / Chairs, wood, cow-hide, string, chain (94 x 186 x 44 cm) Collection Musée national de l'histoire et des cultures de l'immigration, CNHI / Ph. Bertrand Huet, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Bejing / Le Moulin
Hou Hanru, Evelyne Jouanno and Isabelle Renard, the curators of the «J'ai deux amours» exhibition, have selected 106 works from the contemporary art fund of the Musée national de l'histoire de l'immigration and imagined an itinerary through five themes: Departure - voyages - traffic / Between dream and necessity /Frontiers: passages and controls / Living together / Reinventing one's universe.
Eli Commins, Pierre-Yves Chapalain, Cheveu and Yroyto: in order to accompany the exhibition, the Cité commissioned various young artists to work on the theme of the exhibition. Round tables, cinema, readings, theatre, kids workshops, performances… contribute to go in depth into the objective of the exhibition in the form of unique creations.
Catalogue La collection d'art contemporain, CNHI-Montag Editions, 2011, 244 p, 14.50 €