Divided We Stand


Braschler/Fischer, William A. Sonntag, Jeffery S. Bruder and Brandon Lee, firefighters, Michigan City Fire Department Station 4, Michigan City, Indiana © 2020 Braschler/Fischer

The MASI presents a pop-up exhibition centered around Divided We Stand, a project brought to life in 2019 by Swiss photographer duo Mathias Braschler and Monika Fischer to document the deep disintegration of American society.

Following the results of the 2016 presidential elections in the US, which have revealed a divided country between conservative and progressive forces, the rural and the urban, the red centre of the nation and the blue coasts; the couple decided to embark on a documentary photography trip across the United States to probe the underlying sources of these sharp contrasts, photographing and interviewing people from all layers of society across the country.

Divided We Stand is the result of this fifteen-thousand-mile road trip across the United States, which commenced in April 2019. Along the way, traveling through 40 of the 50 federal states, Braschler/Fischer met, interviewed and photographed 82 American citizens with very diverse views of life, politics and their country, including people of all ages, ethnic groups and professional backgrounds.

The exhibition presents a selection of these intense, and sometimes surprising, portraits projected in MASI’s exhibition spaces, along with a series of interviews that put Braschler/Fischer’s work into context and allow for a better understanding of the opinions of some of the most significant characters they have encountered during their road trip.

Divided We Stand shows the real face of contemporary America, marked in recent years by complex political and social changes. Braschler/Fischer’s photographs offer a picture of a nation at a crossroads, whose future will be very different depending on the outcome of the imminent presidential elections.

  • LAC venue

  • Piazza Bernardino Luini 6, 6900 Lugano


Mathias Braschler and Monika Fischer are an internationally renowned photographer couple specialised in portrait photography, particularly interested in wide-ranging projects that focus on people from all parts of society in various countries of the world.

Their most important projects include “Faces of Football”, a collection of close-ups of leading footballers photographed immediately after having left the pitch; “China”, a series of portraits of people from all parts of society and regions of the world’s most populous country; and “The Human Face of Climate Change”, which documents the impact of climate change in various countries around the world.

Braschler/Fischer have won many awards, including the World Press Photo Award, the Hansel Mieth Prize and the European Publishing Award. Their photo reportages are not only published as important monographs, but are also regularly featured in leading international pubications. Their works have been exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world.

Divided We Stand Statements