December 1, 2022
Lauréat du Prix Elysée 2016-2018

A Swiss photographer born in Aix-en-Provence (France) in 1978, Matthias Bruggmann is  the winner of the second edition of the Prix Elysée, for his project entitled “A haunted world where it never shows”. Chosen by an international jury of experts among eight nominees, his identity was revealed to the public at the Nuit des images, Saturday, June 24, 2017. Building on the framework of his prior work on contemporary conflicts, Matthias Bruggmann proposed, for the Prix Elysée, to continue a long-term photographic project launched in 2012 documenting the conflict in Syria. He receives the sum of CHF 80,000, to be divided between the completion of the proposed project and the publication of the accompanying book in June 2018.

“Matthias Bruggmann’s work leaves no one indifferent”, emphasizes Tatyana Franck, director of the Musée de l’Elysée. “The Musée de l’Elysée was built with photojournalism and has since then followed its evolution and was witness to its changing codes. Matthias Bruggmann questions them and reappropriates them in a committed work of wide-ranging scope”. Andrew Sanigar, one of the members of the jury, points out that “Matthias Bruggman’s project presented us with insights into the complexities and the lives on the line in the Syrian crisis. His work is brave, startling, compelling, raw and sometimes bizarre. We see images of the war in Syria in our news media everyday, but the direct yet layered and intricate nature of Matthias’s ways of working clearly has the potential to come together as a book that will, in some way, allow us to understand why Syria and its people have ended up in such a desperate situation.”

Lauréat du Prix Elysée 2016-2018

© Matthias Bruggmann

Matthias Bruggmann is graduate of the Vevey School of Photography. His work, which respects the arbitrary norms of photojournalism, tends towards the deconstruction of the norms of representation in the photography of the real through the representation of complicated situations and places. He has worked, in particular, on and in Egypt, Haiti, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Libya. He was part of the curatorial team for We Are All Photographers Now! for the Musée de l’Elysée, and is one of the cofounders of the contemporary art space Standard/Deluxe in Lausanne. He was also one of the photographers featured in the reGeneration2 exhibition presented by the Musée de l’Elysée in 2010. His work is part of the public collections of the Frac Midi-Pyrénées and the Musée de l’Elysée, as well as a number of private collections.

Matthias Bruggman speaks about his project: “Formally, my previous work put viewers 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 viewers 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 reflection on the nature of what is presented.”

Lauréat du Prix Elysée 2016-2018

© Matthias Bruggmann

It wears somewhat larger than it seems, given the wide lugs, and in 18k rose gold it looks absolutely lovely. I want to use the word “elegance” again to explain my opinion of how it looks. To me this implies that it’s the graceful curves of a natural form, while also being aesthetically pleasing to the eye using a cohesive type. It’s essentially a dress watch that gets extra attention because it is different, however in no way lost or of questionable taste. The fact that it’s a fancy tourbillon is that the pricey icing on the cake.As far as I can consider, Parmigiani knows the Ovale XL case is unique, and doesn’t use it for anything under $50,000 USD. That is a shame because I would like for there to be a steel or ceramic model with a simple automated movement (still in the tonneau-shape) that’s priced much less. It would function as a slightly more avant-garde counterpart into the Parmigiani Tonda 1950. Perhaps Parmigiani will amuse this request in the future.Like most Parmigiani watches, the Ovale XL Tourbillon comes equipped with an Hermès strap, now in indigo blue alligator. I find the relative width of the strap (thanks to the broad lugs) to be a flattering appearance, and in addition, it will help enhance the formal, yet manly position of the timepiece’s in general form. A 30 next tourbillon will spin faster (obviously) compared to a 60 second tourbillon, and consequently its actual purpose is to supply an improved sense of visual animation to the dial.