The directors of Thomas Dane are pleased to announce Paul Pfeiffer's second exhibition at the gallery, which will include two video works. The first of which, 'Live from Neverland', is a video piece divided into two parts. One displayed on a monitor replays footage from a famous broadcast, arranged by Michael Jackson in which he admitted to sharing his bed with a number of children. The statement was screened following his arrest for charges of sexual abuse and during one of the most documented trials in American history. In response to this, a large projection that displays a choir of 80 students of speech and English language who carefully recite Michael Jackson's confession in the style of a Greek chorus was staged by Pfeiffer in his Fillipino home-town. Pfeiffer replaced their traditional oration texts with a transcript from Michael Jackson's broadcast. The two videos are carefully re-synched so that the voices of the choir are in time with Jackson's soun dless monologue.
In language and manner, Jackson portrayed himself as the victim of a police and media witch-hunt. The chorus of voices, while emphasizing his plight, seems to undermine him, furthering an already strong sense of unease. In separating the group from the mute, singular figure, Pfeiffer plays on the power of the mass-media versus the vulnerable victim broadly reflecting on the alteration and diffusion of mass-produced images.
In the second work, 'Koko', Pfeiffer uses sophisticated digital techniques and a Rorschach effect reminiscent of his 'Live Evil' series, which also featured an image of Michael Jackson. The video shows a gorilla (Koko) whose human companion has been, in the most part, digitally removed from the scene apart from the mirror image of their moving hands. The captive Koko is encouraged to perform and respond for the camera. Again, issues of exploitation, representation and vulnerability are combined. The soundtrack co nsists of incidental sounds created by the artist in his studio which are then synched to correspond with the movements of Koko.
Most recently, Pfeiffer has completed 'The Saints', a site-specific commission for Artangel in a large warehouse building in the shadow of Wembley Stadium. In this monumental piece, Pfeiffer produced video and sound responses to the emotional, acoustic and cultural intensity of the crowd during the famous 1966 World Cup Final between England and Germany.
Paul Pfeiffer (b 1966) was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He now lives and works in New York. In 2000, he was the winner of the inaugural Bucksbaum Award at the Whitney Biennial. Major presentations of his work have been held at K21, Dusseldorf (2004), UCLA Hammer, California (2004) and the Whitney, New York (2001). He has exhibited widely in the United States and around the world. Pfeiffer's work is held in distinguished collections including The Whitney Museum, NY, The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and The Goetz Collection, Munich.