'Meetings', photo research
Churches of Power
In his 'Meetings' project, Cyril Porchet shows us a series of large-format photographs of the exhibition halls or lecture halls used to host the shareholders' meetings of major companies, taken shortly before the events begin.
In 2010, Porchet won the Swiss Federal Design Award for his 'Séduction' series, a series of images of nine elaborately decorated baroque churches which posed questions about the culture of spectacle and excess past and present. 'Meetings'continues the same theme, but for this new series the photographer looks at the current state of affairs, seeking the places where powerful assemblies are found today. In frontal pictures, he shows the immense temporary structures erected for the annual meetings of UBS, Siemens, Novartis and other firms.
In these pictures, the opulence and excess of baroque churches finds a contrast in a sleekness and reduction that is intended to symbolise the transparency and earnestness of the firms involved. Using an analogue large-format camera (4×5), Cyril Porchet has overexposed the principal elements, introducing a degree of abstraction. Through various stages, this transforms the real structures into sculptural, brightly illuminated and ephemeral forms.
The parallels are evident: seating which, seen in darkness, resembles church pews; brightly lit-up screens that show turnover figures and brand models instead of forming the background to a baroque altar; and the speaker's podium, which has replaced the pulpit. Cyril Porchet has succeeded in building on his 'Séduction' project in an intelligent way and to a high standard. It will be interesting to see which centre of power he will tackle next.