Amexica : Marie Baronnet

04.03 – 11.06.2023

Curators: François Cheval and Yasmine Chemali

“What arrives to us here, in full face, unexpectedly, it is not the usual matter of curiosity […], this precious booty, it was not within the reach of an ordinary tourist, or even to an ethnologist of the usual model, to conquer it […] Pierre Verger does not say all, and does not show all. For he is also a wise man.”

Foreword by Théodore Monod, in Pierre Verger, Dieux d’Afrique, Paris: Paul Hartmann, 1954.
The exhibition “Amexica : Marie Baronnet” is the second part of a two-phase research project entitled “Ce qui nous arrive ici, en plein visage,” a French expression of Theodore Monod meaning “What arrives to us here, in full face.’’ The exhibition “Photographier les vodous: Catherine De Clippel” formed the first part (5.11.2022 – 5.02.2023).

A barrier stands at the border between the United States and Mexico, a sinister defensive wall known to all. It alone embodies all walls, all refusals of the other. In Amexica, photography is a battleground, a fight between communities, cultures, countries, and, above all, a merciless struggle taking place between individuals and between genders.

In a territory surrounded with aggressive materials, contradictions cannot be resolved without clashes; an arena where, in the end, the same people always end up accepting defeat. Racial divide, class divide, here everything is opposed in a confrontation in which one of the protagonists begs and the other humiliates. A binary world: blinding daylight alternating with darkness, precarity with abundance, city with desert, DIY with sophistication, militia with coyotes, as if this part of the world only operates in schematic terms! But under the full moon, in the alternance between day and night, it is obvious that a battle between two forces, two impulses, is being played out: between life and death, between love and hate. The dividing line clearly indicates the territory of the master and the territory of the weak.

In a photographic series dedicated to the representation of the apocalyptic reality at the Mexico–US border, Marie Baronnet doesn’t leave anything hidden. Through her use of strong, often contrasting colour, combined with a dusky tonality, she draws out the nature of a conflict that rips apart communities in which the differences between contradictory aspirations are irreconcilable. Everyday moments captured by the photographer are simply juxtaposed with other scenes that render the process intelligible – the apartheid created by the wall. It is vital to describe, portrait by portrait, all the protagonists of the drama to better understand what is taking place.


During her training at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris, Marie Baronnet (born in Paris in 1972) obtains a scholarship to study at the California Institute of The Arts in Los Angeles in 1997. Marie Baronnet’s first works approach photography and video as a strictly artistic medium. In 1996 her multimedia work was presented at the musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris before entering the collections of the Centre Pompidou.

Her abstract self-portraits were presented in New York County, alongside American feminist artists such as Cindy Sherman and Jenny Holzer, in the exhibition “Laughter Ten Years After: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Laughter” before being shown at the musée des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1999.

As a freelance photojournalist for the French and American press (Libération, Le Monde, L’Obs, Newsweek, Sunday Times, etc.), she began to work on documentaries in the 2000s. She moved to Los Angeles in 2011 and published with André Frère Publishers, Legends: The Living Art of Risqué (2014), a book on the art of stripping and its pioneers across America. This series is part of the Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir collection.

Between 2009 and 2019, she regularly documents the American and Mexican border and makes her first documentary film on this subject, Amexica (95 min, 2020), co-produced by Raoul Peck’s company Velvet Films and Arte).

In 2023, the Mougins Center of Photography dedicates a solo show presenting her work on the border as well as the film Amexica for the first time since its broadcast on Arte.

© Marie Baronnet
Migrants crossing the border
Naco, Arizona, USA, 2010

© Marie Baronnet
Mirror as a tool of communication between migrants
Naco, Mexico, 2010

© Marie Baronnet
Mixed banknotes, dollars and pesos
Mexicali, Mexico, 2009

© Marie Baronnet
Naco, Mexico, 2010

© Marie Baronnet
Tea Party Rally
Sonora desert, Arizona, USA, 2010

© Marie Baronnet
Tucson, Arizona, USA, 2021

© Marie Baronnet
Tucson, Arizona, USA, 2021

95′, digital, color, VOSTFR
Director: Marie Baronnet
Coproduction: Velvet Film – Arte France
Original score: Marc Ribot

Public programme

Guided tour
by Marie Baronnet
Saturday 04.03.2023

15:00 Guided tour

15:30 Screening of Amexica

17:00 Q&A with Marie Baronnet and Nicole Fernández Ferrer of the Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir

No supplement on the admission fees

Young Audience Film Screening
Fête du court-métrage
Saturday 18.03 at 10:30 am

From 8 years old. Free admission


Wenesday 29.03 à 18:30

Free admission

Compares point of view between Yvan Gastaut, historian and lecturer at the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis and Éric Oberdorff, Compagnie Humaine’s choreographer

Film screening
Saturday 25.03 from 19:00 to 21:00

Free admission

De l’autre côté de Chantal Akerman (France, 2002, documentary, 99′, VOSTFR)

and La promesa by Marie Baronnet (Mexico, 2023, documentary, 8′, VOSTFR)


Friday 09.06 from 19:00 to 21:00

Free admission

El velador by Natalia Almada (Mexico, 2011, documentary, 72′)

and La promesa by Marie Baronnet (Mexico, 2023, documentary, 8′, VOSTFR)

European Night of the Museums
Saturday 13.05 from 18:00 to 23:00

Free admission


Informations and booking

+33 (0)4 22 21 52 12
or +33 (0)4 22 21 52 14

Cahiers #5

Ce qui nous arrive ici, en plein visage : Catherine De Clippel + Marie Baronnet

Authors : François Cheval, Jean-Paul Colleyn, Jérôme Esnouf
ISBN : 979-10-90698-54-3
Publishing : 31 October 2022
192 pages
Bilingual French/English

A barrier stands at the border between the United States and Mexico, a sinister defensive wall known to all. It alone embodies all walls, all refusals of the other. Elsewhere, in Fon and Ewhe countries, other markers stand in the form of earth sculptures posed directly on the ground. Protuberances that separate the living from the spirits. Between Marie Baronnet’s photographs, taken at the Mexican border, and those of Catherine De Clippel, taken in West Africa, a surprising relationship emerges. Both capture what happens between that which closes and that which opens, a beyond that sparks our (very human) curiosity. We must always understand what is hidden, what is on the other side.
Extrait de l’introduction, François Cheval

On sale at Mougins Centre of Photography’s shop.