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Paul Pfeiffer: Prologue to the Story of the Birth of Freedom

Paul Pfeiffer, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (07), 2002. 48 x 60 in, digital DuraFlex print. © Paul Pfeiffer. 

Surveying twenty-five years of the multi-disciplinary practice of Paul Pfeiffer (b. 1966, Honolulu, Hawaii; lives in New York), Paul Pfeiffer: Prologue to the Story of the Birth of Freedom will celebrate a pioneering artist known for his incisive work that interrogates ideas of spectacle, belonging and difference. Inspired by televised sporting events and popular entertainment, Pfeiffer’s work deconstructs our fascination and obsession with celebrity culture, unpacking how collective consciousness is shaped and manipulated through his masterful editing of found footage. In tracing the global trajectory of image circulation, Pfeiffer demonstrates how desire, heroism and worship operate as part of the mechanisms of art, religion, politics, and nationhood.

From era-defining early videos to recent, genre-breaking works in photography, installation, and sculpture, the exhibition establishes Pfeiffer as one of today's most influential artists. His signature works on LCD monitors and miniature projectors, including Fragments of a Crucifixion (After Francis Bacon) (1999), John 3:16 (2000), and The Long Count (2000–01) trilogy, are joined by large-scale projections and immersive installations, such as The Saints (2007), an audio-visual recreation of the 1966 World Cup Final between England and West Germany and Red Green Blue (2022), the artist’s most recent video work. This exhibition also marks the debut of newly-commissioned sculptures in Pfeiffer’s ongoing Incarnator series made in collaboration with “encarnadores” (from the Latin word meaning ‘“to make into flesh”), sculptors working in the Philippines, Spain and Mexico. Here, Pfeiffer casts the popstar Justin Bieber in the likeness of Jesus Christ, transforming him into a religious icon. The production of these sculptures links sixteenth-century colonial trade routes to present day global networks.