Working in video, photography, sculpture and sound, he is drawn to moments intended for mass audiences (live sports events, stadium concert tours, televised game shows, celebrity glamour shots), which he meticulously samples and re-edits to expose an uncanny emptiness underneath. From the hyperreality of photo retouching and digital erasure to the endless repetition of video loops, his mastery of post-production allows him to magnify the surreal aspects of contemporary existence where bodies become sites of saturated observation, and violence-as-entertainment flirts with nationalism, religion and ancient myth. While he also experiments with the format and scale of his works, immersive audiovisual installations often cohabit with portable fetish objects in his exhibitions. Throughout his practice, Paul Pfeiffer means to reflect and heighten the existential condition of the viewer as consumer by perversely blurring the boundary between voyeurism and contemplation.
Pfeiffer has had one-person exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2001); MIT's List Visual Arts Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2003); the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2005); MUSAC León, Spain (2008); the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2009) and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2010).