Debi Cornwall wins the Prix Elysée 2023

with the support of Parmigiani Fleurier

Photo Elysée and Parmigiani Fleurier are pleased to announce the identity of the winner of the Prix Elysée 2023, the American photographer Debi Cornwall for her work entitled Model Citizens.

 "The work is in line with current events and is an important contribution that is timely, given the effect of fake news in our societies. Through her research, the artist questions the blurred line between truth and fiction. The project, which is both a political and intellectual commitment, points to the urgency and necessity of questioning photography as a proof. The impact of fake news is not limited to the United States – the artist is telling a local story that talks about global issues. We are convinced that with the Prix Elysée, Debi Cornwall will reach a new and wider audience and that the prize will help increase her visibility in Europe." – The members of the jury of the Prix Elysée 2023  

The Prix Elysée endowment of CHF 80'000 will enable the artist to complete he research and publish a book.

Career path

Debi Cornwall is an American conceptual documentary artist who has focused on her career as an artist since 2014 after practicing for twelve years as a civil rights attorney.

Employing absurdity and dark humor, she excavates invisible systems by layering still and moving images with testimony and archival material. Her books Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay and Necessary Fictions (Radius Book, 2017 and 2020) have received numerous awards.

Model Citizens

"Photographs can be evidence, yes, but evidence of what? My project, Model Citizens, examines the staging of reality and the performance of citizenship in the United States, a militarized country whose citizens cannot agree on what is true.

In musems, exhibitions, trade fairs, non-military training sites including the 'U.S. Border Patrol Academy', and everyday life, I make photographs designed to invite inquiry: how are fictions deployed, commodified, and embraced, alternately preparing us for and distracting us from the realities of citizenship in a society undergoing perpetual violent crisis?"

Debi Cornwall, text from Debi Cornwall – Crisis Actors: Performing Citizenship (Prix Elysée 2023).

Exhibition at Photo Elysée

Her work in progress Model Citizens will be exhibited at Photo Elysée from June 30 to October 1st, 2023.

Special mention

The jury also awarded a special mention to Khashayar Javanmardi for his project See the Caspian to encourage him to continue his ambitious exploration of Iran.

Other news


The winning images of the contest

As part of the exhibition Blur. A Photographic History, presented at Photo Elysée from March 2 to May 21, 2023, the museum organized an Instagram contest on the theme of blur.

Photographic mistakes, focus manipulations, artistic and motion blur, vignetting or digital manipulation, more than 1'700 images were shared with the hashtag #PhotoElyseeFlou over a period of two weeks.

The great diversity and quality of the submissions impressed the Photo Elysée's team and the jury, composed of Nathalie Herschdorfer, director of Photo Elysée, and Pauline Martin, curator of the Blur exhibition. Thank you all for your participation!

Congratulations to the winners:

The three winning photographs will be presented in our spaces from Thursday, April 20 until May 21, 2023! The photographers of the winning images will also receive a Friends of Photo Elysée card, valid for one year.

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Instragram Photo Contest

As part of the exhibition Blur. A Photographic History, on view at Photo Elysée from March 2 to May 21, 2023, the museum organizes a photographic contest on the theme of blur on Instagram.

The three winning photographs, selected by Nathalie Herschdorfer from the images shared online, will be published on our social networks and displayed in our exhibition spaces during the last month of the exhibition.

Photographic errors, focus games, artistic blur, motion blur, vignetting or digital manipulation, blur in photography is a real field of experimentation, whether involuntary or controlled. It's your turn to play!

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