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Test for Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion

© Paul Pfeiffer

Test for Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion

Artist: Paul Pfeiffer (Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, 1966)
Culture: American
Date: 1999
Medium: Videotape, paper, projector, metal armature
Dimensions:
approximate height: 48 inches (121.9 cm)
Classification: Installation
Credit Line: Gift of Blake Byrne, A.B.’57
Label Text:In his art, Pfeiffer often appropriates film footage from famous movies or sports events, and then alters the material to disrupt the myths of American culture and desire associated with celebrityhood. This video sculpture is a preliminary study for the final version with the same title. In this early test version, Pfeiffer manipulated brief clips from three pop-culture, but very dissimilar, American films, here shown simultaneously and repeated as loops: The Nutty Professor, Saving Private Ryan, and Show Girls. In this work Pfeiffer has digitally replaced the backgrounds of each with a flat green color, focusing attention instead on the infinitely repeated, exaggerated bodily gestures of each character. The viewer is invited to speculate on their juxtaposition, as well as their possible iconographic relation to the subject matter of traditional religious triptychs. Through the repetition of a single gesture, each figure is transformed into frenzied, ecstatic abandon-whether preaching, dying, or writhing in a shallow pool. All narrative and context are eliminated. For the final version, Paul Pfeiffer completely altered the program of this piece, showing instead footage taken from a basketball game. There he digitally removed the central figures of the celebrity athletes, giving the viewer only the play of the basketball moving throughout the court and the erupting excitement of the fans.


Object number: 2001.22.1