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Paul Pfeiffer at MoCA in Los Angeles

Paul Pfeiffer at MoCA in Los Angeles

His first institutional exhibition in the United States, at MoCA in Los Angeles, is a profound reflection on the relationship between reality, spectacle, and representation.

se Guy Debord Definition of offer »A bad dream of a restrictive modern society“, for every Paul Pfeiffer (Honolulu, 1966) It represents an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Spectacle, for him, is created in stadiums and in Hollywood scenes, between the pixels of television screens, in the wraparound of mass media. His art explains its mechanics, exposing the foibles and obsessions that fuel the contemporary cult of celebrity. From November 12 to June 16, 2024I Mocha His first institutional retrospective in the United States is dedicated to Pfeiffer, where more than thirty works were produced throughout his career.

Exhibition title «Introduction to the story of the birth of freedom», alludes to a defining moment in American entertainment history: the introductory speech of Cecil B. DeMille To his giantThe Ten Commandments», the most expensive cinematic production ever at the time of its release in 1956. A reference, this in the title, confirms the artist’s fascination with the greatest entertainment production machine: Hollywood. “Los Angeles provides the perfect setting for this exhibitionAnnounce Joanna BurtonMaurice Marciano, Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is the entertainment capital of the world and a city always ready to create and play with dreams, symbols and myths».There is still the video “Fragment of the Crucifixion (After Francis Bacon)” (1999), by Paul Pfeiffer.  © Paul Pfeiffer.  Cortesia Paula Cooper Gallery, New YorkAmong the most famous works are the first LCD videos, in which the artist re-edits footage from famous basketball or boxing matches (e.g. Mohamed Ali) by digitally erasing objects, sounds and people, and using techniques such as repetition and slow motion: an invitation to a very current reflection, that of the relationship between reality, spectacle and representation. In an image from the series “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse», from 2015. A basketball player occupies the center of the picture, rising like an ecstatic martyr above an invisible cross. Here Pfeiffer's intervention is limited to removing opponents, billboards and scoreboards: the player is thus transformed into a sacred icon, in front of a crowd of faithful fans.“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (30)” (2015), by Paul Pfeiffer.  © Paul Pfeiffer.  Cortesia Paula Cooper Gallery, New YorkOther works include new works from the series “Incarnate» (2018-23), produced specifically for MoCA. These are wooden sculptures made in the Philippines (where Pfeiffer spent his teens) and carved by local encarnadors (carvers of Catholic saints and icons). But instead of the usual religious themes, the American artist immortalizes the faces of contemporary pop stars in wood. Example: Justin Beiber, depicted as the risen Christ from the dead. Some of Pfeiffer's large immersive installations can also be seen. In the first class “Vitruvian form» (2008) An architectural model of a huge circular stadium with a diameter of eight meters, inspired by… Sydney Olympic Stadium. A miserable tribute to the Roman architect VitruviusThe sculpture gives shape to a disturbing vision of the scene in full Debordian style.

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© All rights reserved“Incarnate” (2018-22), by Paul Pfeiffer.  © Paul Pfeiffer.  Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery.  Photo: Ben Westoby