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 shop's Christmas selection

The holidays are fast approaching, and we've got you covered!

A varied Christmas selection of photographic books and design objects awaits you in the Photo Elysée and mudac bookshop.

Photographic books

  • Patti Smith, Une saison en enfer, Arthur Rimbaud, 1873, Gallimard
  • À l'est, du nouveau, Kometa, No1 / Imperialism
  • Alexa Brunet, Felix Tréguer, Odyssée 2.0, Le bec en l'air
  • F&D Cartier, JOURNAL singulier RAYONMAN, Art & fiction
  • Paolo Roversi, Des oiseaux, Atelier EXB

Design objects

  • Christmas bauble, Magma, Antoine Fœglé and Emma Pflieger (Keep it Flat - Space is the place exhibition) CIAV Meisenthal special edition
  • Longchamp bag × mudac
  • Porcelain pieces, Hello! Help! series, Sylvie Godel, Lausanne artist and ceramist.
  • Satellite vase, Shizuka Saito, available in blue or yellow (to be confirmed)
  • Canards du Léman scarf, Maison & Maison, reissued 2023 for mudac

Read more

Ella Maillart at the Musée Rath

Through a selection of photographs, articles, books and documents, this exhibition invites visitors to rediscover Ella Maillart's exceptional career. Sportswoman, traveller, lecturer and journalist, she never ceased to defend her vision of "world unity".

Much more than a tribute, and far from nostalgic commemorations, this exhibition also aims to create new intergenerational dialogues and to consider the human being in its individual as well as collective complexity.

Anne-Julie Raccoursier and Pauline Julier, two artists with very distinct personalities, take up the challenge: avid travelers themselves, their approaches, oscillating between reality and fiction, in turn deconstruct clichés.

Read more