Photo research 'Seduction' (diploma work)
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.