The number of marriages in France has declined in the last decades and the rate of divorce is rising. The recent passionate debates in France around the extension of the right to marriage to persons of the same sex, proved that far from becoming unnecessary, marriage is, on the contrary, perceived as a fundamental right for everyone. The wedding bazaar is thriving in France, with a strong market for bridal dresses, wedding accessories, wedding feasts and theme marriages.
India International Centre presents Mariages à la française. Shifts in a cultural grammar curated by Arundhati Virmani, School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, EHESS, Marseille, in partnership with Centre Norbert Elias, Marseille, and MuCem – Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean, Marseille.
The exhibition takes a retrospective analysis of the changes that the institution and rites of marriages in France has undergone through some select objects like the wedding invitation, the menu of the wedding feast, the changing sites of the wedding: from church to the town hall and some elements of the ceremony, such as the bride’s bouquet of flowers, the wedding dress etc. The exhibition primarily aims to bring to the front the social transformation and values that France as a culture has experienced since the end of 19th century.
With its Inauguration on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 at 18:30 The exhibition will be on view 22nd to 28th February 2017, 11 am to 7 pm at the Main Art Gallery, India International Centre. As part of this exhibition, there will be two related programmes in Main Art Gallery:
23rd Feb 2017, Thursday at 6:30 pm – Dr. Arundhati Virmani, Indian historian who teaches at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Marseille, will present an illustrated lecture
27th Feb 2017, Monday, 6”:30 pm –Dr. Jean Boutier, French historian will present an illustrated lecture on the Princely Weddings that took place at the French Court in Versailles.
This exhibition traces the major transformations of the French marriage from a predominantly Catholic Church ritual to a civil ceremony to its more recent mutations. It presents historical and legal texts, literary extracts, photos, video and sound recordings, as well as material objects that are central to the wedding rite: from the traditional wedding dress to the more scatological chamber pots, now used to serve champagne and chocolate to the new couple.
Arundhati Virmani is a Historian, at the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), Marseille. Her recent book Les Indiens. Voix multiples (Paris, 2015), won the Asia Prize 2015, France. Some of her books includeA National flag for India. Rituals, Nationalism and the Politics of Sentiment, Delhi, Permanent Black, 2008 ; Atlas Historique de l’Inde, Paris, 2012.ed. PoliticalAesthetics, Culture, critique and the everyday, London, Routledge, 2015.
She has curated exhibitions on the Historical Atlas of India at the IIC, Delhi, Cambridge University Library, UK, and the Maison Méditérranée des sciences de l’homme, Aix-en-Provence, France.