press release

In December, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents the work of Paul Pfeiffer, who is best known for manipulating media footage from sports and music culture to expose the absurdity, complexity, and violence of popular spectacles. This exhibition highlights Pfeiffer's recent work Three Figures In A Room, which is an edited version of the infamous 2015 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao known as the "Fight of the Century." The video of the match is projected in silence next to another video that is a recording of two sound effect artists who, using props and their own bodies, re-create every sound made by the boxers' movements. The two-channel installation is presented alongside works from the MCA Collection selected by the artist in collaboration with MCA Curatorial Assistant Grace Deveney, who organized the exhibition. Paul Pfeiffer runs from December 23, 2017 to May 20, 2018.

Three Figures In A Room uses repetition, omission, and juxtaposition to expose conventions of televised events and aspects of their production. While one screen plays edited footage of Mayweather and Pacquiao boxing, the other presents the work of two sound effect artists from Bangkok who were commissioned by Pfeiffer to produce the soundtrack. They re-create the sounds of swishing fabric, shuffling shoes, and landed punches, shifting the context of the sights and sounds of the event and dissecting the role media plays in shaping the experience of the viewer.

The video installation is accompanied by works from the MCA Collection that explore the theme of the artist as editor. Pfeiffer and Curatorial Assistant Grace Deveney present works such as Stan Douglas' Hockey Fight, 1951 which depicts an altercation between fans in a hockey arena that is staged entirely at the artist's studio. Another work, The Pink by Jeanne Dunning, blurs the line between fact and fiction with an up-close image of a grapefruit that appears to viewers as either skin, flesh, or an alien landscape.

Also from the MCA Collection are works by Chris Burden and Robert Heinecken that explore the prevalence of violence in the US, commenting on the ways popular culture perpetuates violent spectacles and behaviors. Other works on view include Bowl and Column by Sarah Charlesworth, and Goshogaoka Girls Basketball Team Group #1: Yuka Koishihara and Eri Kobayashi; Yuka Ishigami; Chinatsu Narui and Hitomi Shibazaki; Kumiko Shirai by Sharon Lockhart.

Born in 1966 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Pfeiffer received a BFA in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1987 and an MFA from Hunter College in 1994. He completed the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program from 1997-98 and won the first-ever Bucksbaum Award in 2000. His works have been shown around the world, including recent solo exhibitions at the Thomas Dane Gallery, London, England (2017); Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong, China (2016); Paul Cooper Gallery, New York, US (2016); Carlier Gebauer, Berlin, Germany (2016); Museo Madre, Naples, Italy (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Malate Manila, Philippines (2015); and at the US Embassy in Vienna, Austria (2015). Pfeiffer lives and works in New York City.