By Margaret Andersen
CalArts alumnus and former Fulbright Fellow (2008-09) Mario Pfeifer (Film/Video 09) debuts new work this fall at the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig (GfZK) in Germany, the first solo show for the German-born video artist. The exhibition, titled Explosion, is curated by Kirsa Geiser and runs from Oct. 1 through Jan. 8, 2017.
According to the museum’s website, the content of the show draws from Pfeifer’s interest in cultural anthropology, and “points towards the liberating impact of encounters with different living environments and ways of life all over the world.” His videos, which document communities in India, Brazil, Chile, the U.S. and Germany, have been described as “desolate, beautiful, fierce, hopeful and kitschy, [creating an] intoxicatingly opulent visual world.”
Rather than focusing on specific religious or cultural aspects of the regions he documents, Pfeifer turns his lens towards the “portrayal of a labour class that constructs or destroys identity throughout the world.” He believes that labor and the working process is a universally relatable theme that can evoke empathy in the viewer and serve as a catalyst for discussion and critique of racism, exploitation, ideology and migration not just in the Global South but in Europe as well.
One of the pieces in the show, titled On Education and Fear, Disenchantment and Protest, Equity and Cleavage in Saxony/Germany was produced in the Saxony region of Germany, and poses questions to his diverse group of interviewees about “cause for the current increase in radicalisation within our democracy.”
More from GfZK:
A work of art is not a political instrument, it simply cannot replace any form of politics. In the best case, however, it can be a sectional visual representation of social conditions on all levels. And in the case of this show by Mario Pfeifer, it is a kaleidoscope that provides various perspectives on the current political situation.
Pfeifer has been listed by Artsy as one of the “30 Emerging Artists to Watch this Spring.” His video Blacktivist, produced in collaboration with Flatbush ZOMBIES, has garnered 2.5 million views on Youtube. The video, which exhibited last year at the Goethe-Institut New York’s contemporary art space Ludlow 38, is a frenetic collage of conventional music video aesthetics, politically-charged found imagery, and documentary footage. Ludlow 38 cites that the objective of the video was to reflect, “how violence and repression are negotiated and reappraised in a supposedly post-racial society.”
Above: Mario Pfeifer and Flatbush ZOMBIE’s ‘Blacktivist.’
Mario Pfeifer: Explosion
Oct. 1 through Jan. 8, 2017
Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig
Karl-Tauchnitz-Straße 9-11, 04107 Leipzig, Germany
Tickets: general admission 5€; discounted 3€