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carlier | gebauer: Paul Pfeiffer - 6 Sept 2008 to 11 Oct 2008

Current Exhibition

6 Sept 2008 to 11 Oct 2008
Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Vernissage 5th September, 6 p.m
carlier | gebauer
Markgrafenstraße 67
p: +49 (0)30 2400 863 0
f: +49 (0)30 2400 863 33

Paul Pfeiffer, Cross Hall, 2008
live video stream, camera, projection, diorama, wood
400 cm x 533 cm x 200 cm, unique. Image © the artist, courtesy carlier | gebauer
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Artists in this exhibition: Paul Pfeiffer

Paul Pfeiffer
6th September – 11th October 2008
Vernissage 5th September, 6 p.m.

Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

We are delighted to present the third solo exhibition by New York artist Paul Pfeiffer at carlier | gebauer. Pfeiffer, who was trained at Hunter College (NYC), and in the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum (NYC), is considered one of the most important video artists of his generation in the USA. In 2006 and 2007 his works were shown inter alia in New York at MoMA and the Guggenheim, as well as at P.S.1. In addition, in 2007 he also realized "The Saints" for ArtAngel, London. Pfeiffer is currently represented at the Sydney Biennale, as well as in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. At the end of September "Monologue", the first extensive survey of his work will open in Spain at MUSAC, León.

Pfeiffer will be showing three recent works in the exhibition at carlier|gebauer, two of which will be exhibited for the first time. Live from Neverland, 2006 , Caryatid (Red, Yellow, Blue), 2008 and Cross Hall, 2008 are video pieces in which the character of the installation as an object plays a crucial role. Pfeiffer’s work reflects video formats, which are dominating contemporary mass media. Television formats, as well as that of the omnipresent surveillance camera, both of which accompany us in our day-to-day lives, are explored, examining their origins. In Pfeiffer’s oeuvre, these dominant media apparatuses of perception become the starting point for a fundamental artistic reworking. He raises questions about the quotidian hierarchisation and the evaluations of individuals and spaces recorded by mass media events and signified in emblems of contemporary culture. This often occurs through artistic techniques of isolation: by removing the human figures from the image, isolating from the context in which they are embedded, through the repetition of rooms vibrant with meaning. Pfeiffer’s works draw out the eerie and archetypical from the apparently everyday. His art denies the seemingly unquestionable primacy of the visual by reconstructing it in a new modus.

Cross Hall, 2008 confronts audiences with live transmission of footage from two surveillance cameras, projected to cover the whole wall. An empty passageway is recorded from the end of a neo-classical corridor, and from a room adjacent to that corridor. Behind the surface onto which the images are projected is a diorama, a model of this imposing corridor, which audiences can only see through a peephole. The actual space remains concealed, whilst the perspective of the surveillance camera defines visible reality and constructs it through the projection.

The video work Caryatid (Red, Yellow, Blue), 2008, presented on three black painted monitors, is part of a series of productions in which Pfeiffer juxtaposes revenants and variations on Antiquity’s Caryatids. Whilst these load-bearing figures served as supports in ancient temples, in Pfeiffer’s works they move out of these positions and are erased from the image, as is the case in Caryatid, 2000 , or injured as they fall and incorporated into the image as collapsing, injured figures, as is the case in the current work. Whilst the trophy, seeming to float in the room, was all that remained of the victorious basketball players in the 2000 video, Caryatid (Red, Yellow, Blue), 2008 shows football players crashing to the ground after a foul. The image is divided up on three monitors using a scheme based on the primary colours red, yellow and blue, and is thus dissected into its technical components. Here the video image returns to a painterly task, as run through by Barnett Newman in countless varying declensions. At the same time, these looped television recordings of contemporary heroes become the eternally recurring moment of their tragic and ineluctable failure.

Live from Neverland, 2006 shows an exaggerated, heightened version of a television documentary that notched up some of the highest audience ratings over the last few years. Pfeiffer takes the television reportage “Living with Michael Jackson”, which attracted an audience of twenty-seven million viewers in the US, and filters out precisely the eleven minutes in which Michael Jackson talks about having shared his bed with several children on his “Neverland” estate. It was this recording that triggered the charges of sexual abuse brought against Jackson. Pfeiffer shows Jackson talking on one monitor without any sound and at the same time has the images accompanied by a choir in a large video projection filling an entire wall. Assuming the form of an ancient Greek choir, the group of around 80 singers recites Jackson’s words, perfectly synchronised to his lip movements. Here again the spatial construction of the work plays a crucial part in how it is perceived and here too figures from Antiquity are introduced as a fixed reference point, deployed in a re-staging of the present.

Paul Pfeiffer (born in Honolulu, Hawaii 1966). Lives and works in New York City. Solo exhibitions: 2008: MUSAC- Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Léon, Spain; 2007: ArtAngel, London, United Kingdom; 2006: MC Kunst, Los Angeles; 2004: K 21 Kunstsammlung, Düsseldorf; 2003: Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; List Visual Art Centre, MIT, Cambridge; 2002: Orpheus Descending, Barbican Art Centre, London; UCLA Hammer, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Group exhibitions: 2008: Biennale of Sydney, Australia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; 2007: Automatic Update, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Shapes of Space, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; 2006: Visions du Déluge, Le Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne Palais de Rumine, Lausanne, Switzerland; The Gold Standard, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY; Full House: Views of the Whitney’s Collection at 75, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; 2005: Rundlederwelten, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany; Getting Emotional, ICA, Boston, MA; 2004: Faces in the Crowd: The Modern Figure and Avant-Garde Realism, Castello Rivoli, Turin, Italy und Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; 2001:49th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; 2000: The Whitney Biennial, The Whitney Museum, Greater New York, P.S.1/MoMA, New York

For detailed press information and photos, please contact Kerstin Stakemeier at or by telephone at +49 (0) 30 2400 863 0.

Curriculum Vitae

Paul Pfeiffer

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1966.
Lives and works in New York City.

1997-98 Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program
1994 MFA, Hunter College, New York City
1987 BFA, San Francisco Art Institute

Solo Exhibitions (selected)
2008 Thomas Dane Gallery, London
2008 MUSAC- Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Léon, Spain
2008 carlier | gebauer, Berlin
2008 Thomas Dane Gallery, London
2007 “The Saints”, ArtAngel, London
2005 “Pirate Jenny”, carlier | gebauer, Berlin
2004 “Pirate Jenny”, The Project, New York
2004 “Pirate Jenny”, Gagosian Gallery, New York
2004 Thomas Dane Limited, London
2004 K 21, Kunstsammlung im Ständehaus, Düsseldorf Germany
2003 “Morning after the Deluge”, carlier | gebauer, Berlin
2003 Museum of Contemporary Art, Honolulu, Hawaii
2003 Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
2003 List Visual Arts Centre, MIT, Cambridge
2001 Barbican Art Centre, London2001 UCLA Hammer, Los Angeles, California
2001 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
2000 The Project, New York2000 Kunst-Werke, Berlin, Germany
1998 “The Pure Products Go Crazy,” The Project, New York
1993 “Survival of the Innocents”, Art In General, New York

Group Exhibitions (selected)
2008 Biennal of Sydney, Australia
2008 Reconstitutions, Reenactments, DHC/Art Montréal
2008 Ghost in the Machine, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
2008 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
2007 Automatic Update, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
2007 Art in America: Now, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art and the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China
2007 The Shapes of Space, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
2007 Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf, Germany
2006 “THE GOLD STANDARD”, P.S.1 MoMA, Long Island
2006 “Choosing my Religion”, KunstmuseumThun, Thun, Switzerland
2006 “The Expanded Eye”, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
2006 “TIME FRAME”, P.S.1 MoMA, Long Island
2005 “Superstars”, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna
2005 “Getting Emotional”, ICA, Boston, MA
2005 “Faces in the Crowd: The Modern Figure and Avant-Garde Realism”, Castello di Rivoli, Torino, Italy
2004 “Faces in the Crowd: The Modern Figure and Avant-Garde Realism”, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
2004 “Eclipse Towards the Egde of the Visible”, White Cube, London
2004 “10 Commandments”, Hygiene Museum, Dresden, Germany
2003 “Fast Forward Media Art”, Goetz Collection, Munich
2003 “The Squared Circle”, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
2003 “The Moderns”, Castello di Rivoli, Torino, Italy
2002 “Out of Place”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago,
2002 “Tempo”, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2002 K21, Düsseldorf, Germany
2001 49th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
2001 “Bitstreams”, The Whitney Museum, New York
2001 “Casino 2001”, SMAK, Gent, Belgium
2001 “The Americans”, Barbican Arts Centre, London
2001 “Subject Plural”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston
2001 “Hypermental”, Kunsthaus Zurich, Hamburger Kunsthalle
2000 The Whitney Biennial, The Whitney Museum, New York
2000 Greater New York, P.S.1/MoMA, New York
2000 “Hypermental”, Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland
1995 “In a Different Light”, UC Berkeley Museum

Awards and Prices
2003 Artpace Residency, San Antonio
2001-2 MIT List Visual Arts Center Residency
2000 The Bucksbaum Award, The Whitney Museum, New York, NY
2000 Travel Grant, Asian Cultural Council
1999-2000 The Public Art Fund
1999 World Trade Center Residency, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NY
1994-95 Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship to the Philippines
1994 Project Grant, Art Matters
1993 Travel Grant Pilot, National Endowment for the Arts and Arts International
1984-94 Artist Delelopment Grant, Barbara Smith Artists Trust

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