Paul Pfeiffer. John 3:16. 2000

Paul Pfeiffer John 3:16 2000

  • Not on view

Pfeiffer transforms an ordinary televised NBA basketball game into a rapturous study of spectacle and spectatorship. By painstakingly manipulating and reprocessing five thousand digital frames, the artist removes the presence of the athletes on the court, leaving only a palimpsest of their hands. He centers our attention—like that of the excited fans with their exploding flashbulbs—on the gravity–defying basketball as it mysteriously, even miraculously, floats in midair.

Pfeiffer confounds the ideal of Renaissance one–point perspective by guiding our attention toward the margins of the frame: our eyes never rest as the ball is tossed this way and that. Also, he intensifies the perceptual experience by reducing the scale of the looped image. By presenting it on a miniature LCD monitor easily seen by only one viewer at a time, he transforms a dramatic public sporting event into a moment of private, almost devotional, contemplation. "The ideal of painting is when you can forget your body and have a visual experience that is really pure," Pfeiffer has observed, "[but] in sports, you cannot disembody your eye, because it is a matter of coordinating your body and your eye and your mind." Just as professional basketball players cope with sensory overload on the court, making split-second decisions, viewers of this work have their habits of perception thrown off balance.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art , p. 188.
Medium
Digital video (color, silent; 2:07 min.), LCD monitor, and metal armature
Dimensions
7 x 7 x 36" (17.8 x 17.8 x 91.4 cm)
Credit
Gift of David Teiger
Object number
450.2002.a-c
Copyright
© 2022 Paul Pfeiffer
Department
Media and Performance

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