Paul Pfeiffer

Paul Pfeiffer is a video artist from Hawaii who graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute and received a MFA from Hunter College in New York. He currently lives in New York. He uses other’s video footage to create his works that are time-consuming sometimes taking several months to produce a 3 minute video.
“The Long Count” is a video of a fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali with the fighters digitally removed—so that one sees only the movement of the ropes. In his series “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse “he uses a series of photographs of basketball games, from which all players except one have been edited out. He started this series, however, with a photo of Marilyn Monroe, extracting her figure digitally, filling it in with background.
“The Saints” is videoed of an empty room “restaging” the 1966 World Cup final between West Germany and England in London with the sounds of the final.
It was difficult to locate the videos on line, but once I did, I found the images of the athletes with other players digitally removed to be very interesting. This was my favorite of his work– without the context of the other players, the images tumble and fall into space and onto the ground for inexplicable reasons—like a performance of dance or strange gymnastics. On the other hand, the Michael Jackson video has the glove stable on the screen with the body image moving around. It isn’t so obvious unless you pay much attention, other than that the glove seems oversized–the work shows digital manipulation and makes Michael Jackson appear to be controlled by his glove, rather than him controlling the hand and glove. A interest take on the famous start.
My take in general is that Pfeiffer’s work is apparently tedious and lengthy with the results sometimes not so obvious or appreciated by the viewer. On the other hand, perhaps social statements may be read into the work. Certainly some of the work speaks about the context of the individual within a group and has us think about us what the individual would do without his actions in the context of others. Would an individual contort, jump, scream, and fall down if he were by himself, not amongst other athletes in a game? We are indeed social animals and Pfeiffer’s work points that out using the opposite approach–subtracting the individual image from the social context. The more I think about it, the more I admire this innovative concept and work!


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