Live Evil (Auckland), 2002

Installation view: The Kaleidoscopic Eye: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan, 2009
Photo: Watanabe Osamu | Courtesy Mori Art Museum

Single-channel video installation on monitor, b/w, silent
30 sec (video)
6.4 x 7.6 x 8.9 cm (monitor)

Paul Pfeiffer focuses his attention on the way the media reshapes our understanding of the real. Tumbling through the torrent of daily produced TV and cinema images, he extracts his materials from all forms of spectacle. His compositions tend to deconstruct the original: he cleverly manipulates found footage, adopting new digital processing techniques as they become available. Presented on small LCD screens and often looped, these video works are meditations on faith, desire and a contemporary culture obsessed with celebrity.
Live Evil (Auckland) is a digitally-processed image of Michael Jackson dancing on stage. Half of the musician's body has been mirrored so as to form a new-abstract entity, which at times resembles a skeleton, a primitive idol or a Rorschach-test pattern. The palindromic title further emphasizes on the process Pfeiffer has used to create this monster figure that also evokes a squirming insect. The video has no sound, and is distinctly otherworldly. Images originally intended for fans to enjoy have become discomforting, as if watching a bad dream.

*1966 in Honolulu, USA | Living and working in New York, USA