Prix Elysée 2016 – 2018


The Nominees’ Book

Published by the Musée de l’Elysée in partnership with Editions Photosynthèses in Arles, this book presents the projects of the eight nominees of the second edition of the Prix Elysée. Isabelle Blanc & Olivier Hilaire, Elina Brotherus, Matthias Bruggmann, David Jiménez, Sofie Knijff, Jim Naughten, Emeka Okereke and Robert Zhao Renhui were selected by the museum from among 440 candidates from all over the world. They were given carte blanche for a new project, each one presenting his or her initial results in an artist’s book. These books, presented together in a collection, invite the reader to delve into the privacy of a work in progress while providing an overview of contemporary photographic practices.

Publié par le Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne et les Éditions Photosynthèses, Arles
January 2017
Texts by: Tatyana Franck, Pascal Hufschmid, Michel Parmigiani and Holly Roussell Perret-Gentil
23.5 x 32 cm
Coffret toilé contenant 9 livres
160 pages (8 cahiers de 16 pages, 1 cahier de 32 pages)
200 images
Bilingue français & anglais
ISBN : 979-10-95822-02-8


Matthias Bruggmann

“Formally, my previous work put the viewer in a position where they were asked to decide the nature of the work itself. A scientifically questionable analogy of this mechanism would be the observer effect in quantum physics, where the act of observing changes the nature of what is being observed. My Syrian work builds on this framework.

From a documentation perspective, it is, thus far and to the best of my knowledge, unique as the work, inside Syria, of a single Western photographer, in large part thanks to the assistance and hard work of some of the best independent experts on the conflict. Because of the nature of this conflict, I believe it is necessary to expand the geographical scope of the work.

At its core is an attempt at generating a sense of moral ambiguity. The design of this is to make the viewer uneasy by challenging their own moral assumptions, and thus attempt to bring, to Western viewers, a visceral comprehension of the intangible violence that underlies conflict. One of the means is by perverting the codes normally used in documentary photography to enhance identification with the subject. While perfectly conforming to accepted documentary norms, part of the work aims at eroding the viewer’s implicit faith in my own trustworthiness as a witness, and attempts to force a further reflexion on the nature of what is presented.”



  • Mimi Chun, Founder and Director, Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong
  • Salvador Nadales, Curator of Collections Department and Head of Institutional Relations, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid
  • Andrew Sanigar, Commissioning Editor, Thames & Hudson, London
  • Astrid Ullens de Schooten, Founder and President, Fondation A. Stichting, Bruxelles

Partenaires fondateurs

  • Tatyana Franck, Director, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
  • Michel Parmigiani, Founder, Parmigiani Fleurier, Fleurier
  • Marina Vatchnadze, Sandoz Family Foundation, Manager of the cultural patronage