Paul Pfeiffer’s videos, photos, and sculptures address the many problematic aspects of present and future worlds dominated by astonishing revolutions in visual representation. His transformation of images and objects from televised sporting events, fashion photography, and Hollywood movies prompts us to reconsider conventional attitudes about issues of the body, race, identity, faith, and architectural space in contemporary society. Pfeiffer uses recent computer technologies to dissect the role that mass media plays in shaping consciousness, and contemplates an uneasy dialectic of presence and absence through acts of erasure, camouflage, displacement and reconstruction. In a series of video works focused on professional sports events—including basketball, boxing, and hockey—Pfeiffer digitally removes the bodies of the players from the games, shifting the viewer’s focus to the spectators or trophies won. Presented on small LCD screens and often looped, these intimate and idealized video works are meditations on a celebrity-obsessed culture. Many of Pfeiffer’s works invite viewers to exercise their imaginations or project their own fears and obsessions onto the art object. Several of Pfeiffer’s sculptures include eerie, computer-generated recreations of props from Hollywood thrillers, such as “Poltergeist”, and miniature dioramas of sets from films that include “The Exorcist” and "The Amityville Horror.” His works address the evolving effects of new digital technologies, which easily manipulate pre-existing images of the human being, and rather than masking the use of technology in his work, Pfeiffer calls full attention to its presence.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1966, Paul spent most of his childhood in the Philippines. Pfeiffer relocated to New York in 1990, where he attended Hunter College and the Whitney Independent Study Program. Pfeiffer is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, most notably becoming the inaugural recipient of The Bucksbaum Award given by the Whitney Museum of American Art (2000). In 2002, Pfeiffer was an artist-in-residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at ArtPace in San Antonio, Texas. In 2003, a traveling retrospective of his work was organized by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Pfeiffer’s work has also been shown at MoMA, the Guggenheim (NY), P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (New York), San Francisco Art Institute, Singapore Art Museum, Castello Rivoli and Gio Marconi (Italy), Kunst-Werke and Carlier l Gebauer, (Germany), the Cairo Biennial 2003, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Walker Art Center, SITE Santa Fe, Thomas Dane Limited , Whitechapel Art Gallery and White Cube (London), The Project, Gagosian Gallery, Ronald Feldman Gallery, James Cohan Gallery, MoCA Detroit, and MoCA Shanghai. Pfeiffer recently co-curated SculptureCenter’s spring 2006 group exhibition Grey Flags, and is currently working on projects for ArtAngel in London, and for the Biennale of Sydney. Pfeiffer lives and works in New York.