Susan Meiselas: Crossings – Over the U.S. Mexico Border
April 14, 2016
by Susan Meiselas
The Gallery Catherine and André Hug, Paris, presents until April 23rd the series “Crossings” made in 1989 by Susan Meiselas.
During her long photographic career marked by the temporality of her times, committed to topics that deserve the eye of a witness of history and united with roaming peoples, Susan Meiselas accompanies migrants as they try to cross the border between the United States and Mexico.
The "Crossings", series was exhibited for the first time in 1990 at the Art Institute of Chicago, portrays the risks taken by men and women to cross the border, the dividing line between two Americas, between two realities. They are propelled across this point of entry for a better life, drawn by the American dream, a symbol of freedom and democracy. Susan Meiselas follows the paths taken by people trying to cross this mythical border to escape the reality of their difficult daily lives of both economic hardship and political instability. The night journey, the hideouts and the wait, the smugglers, the fear and the arrest, this photographic series situates itself very close to the risks experienced by migrants, both then and continuing now.
"For those who are crossing, an arrest is a stopping. Paths are temporarily reversed and people are often sent back to the countries and conditions they fled. The migrants say that when rich Americans want gardeners and maids, they allow the 'undocumented workers' to proceed. When they have enough, the rest are scooped up like garbage and disposed of. For those who remain, we Americans rarely ask who they are or why this is the choice they have made. So we pass the silent faces on the street, in the stores, even in our own homes. We see their eyes, but we don't know what their eyes have seen or what they see in us."
Introduction for exhibition of "Crossings" at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1990