Cyril Porchet


Cyril Porchet

Photo research 'Seduction' (diploma work)


Jury report

Images of Seduction
The award-win­ning pho­to­graphic se­ries 'Se­duc­tion' by Cyril Porchet shows the heart of the church: the altar. Ten baroque churches in Ger­many, Spain and Aus­tria are all pho­tographed in the same frontal for­mat.

Golden an­gels, sump­tu­ously dec­o­rated al­tars, mag­nif­i­cently or­nate columns and dy­namic sculp­tures cre­ate a dense and sym­bol-laden image of the church in­te­rior. The sheer wealth of im­agery, the care­fully or­ches­trated colours and the sur­pris­ingly large for­mat all com­bine to cre­ate an over­whelm­ing ef­fect, which is fur­ther in­ten­si­fied by the jux­ta­po­si­tion of the pho­tographs with vari­a­tions on the same motif.

Porchet se­lected the baroque churches for their op­u­lence and their teem­ing decor of fig­u­ra­tive and sym­bolic el­e­ments. He pho­tographed these re­li­gious places to con­vey a sense of vi­sual overkill. He is in­ter­ested in the way our senses are, metaphor­i­cally speak­ing, se­duced and anaes­thetised by so much mag­nif­i­cence and splen­dour. He sees the baroque churches as metaphors of the spec­ta­cle de­scribed by Guy De­bord in his fa­mous 1967 cri­tique of cap­i­tal­ism, 'The So­ci­ety of the Spec­ta­cle'. In sim­i­lar vein, the pho­tog­ra­pher cri­tiques the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of spec­ta­cle in pre­sent-day so­cial cul­ture. He re­gards his pho­tographs as his­tor­i­cal re­minders of the func­tion of the image as an in­stru­ment of ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ma­nip­u­la­tion.

With his ex­tra­or­di­nary se­ries of pho­tographs, Cyril Porchet has cre­ated a re­mark­able vi­sual ex­pe­ri­ence in which the role of the image today is ad­dressed as­tutely and crit­i­cally. This enig­matic work is as com­pelling in its play on su­per­fi­cial­ity as it is in its an­a­lyt­i­cal depth and multi-lay­ered mean­ing.
Au­re­lia Müller


Cyril Porchet
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