Winner of the Prix Elysée - Edition 2016-2018

Matthias Bruggmann, winner of the second edition of the Prix Elysée

The Musée de l’Elysée and Parmigiani Fleurier would like to congratulate the Swiss photographer born in Aix-en-Provence (France) in 1978, winner of the second edition of the Prix Elysée, for his project entitled A haunted world where it never shows. 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 2018.


© Catherine Leutenegger

A haunted world where it never shows.

“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.”


“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.”

- Andrew Sanigar, Commissioning Editor, Thames & Hudson, London



1978, Swiss, born in Aix-en-Provence, France

Matthias Bruggmann is a Swiss photographer, born in Aix-en-Provence in 1978. He lives and works on his laptop. He is an alumni 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, amongst others, worked 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 was one of the cofounders of the contemporary art space Standard/Deluxe in Lausanne.

His work is part of a number of private collections, as well as the public collections of the Frac Midi-Pyrénées and the Musée de l’Elysée.

The Prix Elysée is made possible thanks to its main partner Parmigiani Fleurier, exclusive watchmaking partner of the museum