Fotomuseum Winterthur | Saturday, 17.05. – Sunday, 12.10.2025

The Lure of the Image

Yet another image of a cat that makes you go 🫶. That TV show you love to hate that keeps popping up as a meme on social media. A picture that baits your click, a thirst trap you can’t resist. Political propaganda embedded in cuteness and the unfulfilled promises of perfect bodies on your dating app. One last Airbnb photograph that tricked you into a windowless trap. It’s hard not to get sucked into the world of digital images, a world that’s so beguiling that we can’t stop scrolling and just keep clicking.

The Lure of the Image explores the seductive powers of photographic images online. The exhibition maps the mechanisms of the lure and investigates how seduction and desire, affect and drive are embedded in contemporary visual culture. 

How do images entice or beguile us, how do they control, bait or deceive us? What digital and networked logics underpin the persuasive attraction of images and what new forms of seduction have they spawned? The exhibition explores how images attract attention, evoke feelings, create desire and generate value. It also examines the complex social, political and economic networks in which the lure of the image is ultimately embedded. Selected positions from artists and photographers alongside commissioned works critically investigate, creatively subvert and actively resist the lure(s) of the image.

The Lure of the Image is the result of a three-year research project that evolved on the dynamic and constantly changing online platform [permanent beta]. The contributions that unfold on the website have been realised in collaboration with artists, curators and theorists and include performative and audiovisual explorations, podcasts, essays and dialogue-based input. They give users an all-round view of the subject matter while at the same time providing an insight into the collective process of research and development involved in creating this exhibition project.