Icon Remix

Paul Pfeiffer Sees the Art Historical Vista from the Bates Motel

The same could be said of Pfeiffer's pieces. The smaller erased Monroes here, "24 Landscapes," were taken on Santa Monica Beach during the last photo session before the actress's death in 1962. "They're studies of the human figure through the background," says Pfeiffer. "Each one of those shots was kind of specifically constructed to star the human figure." Indeed, the pictures are quite eerie. Unlike the usual landscapes, they're vertical and they resonate with emptiness. In some, the actress's footprints are visible in the sand.

"One thing that I wrote for myself about this work, the meaning of the Marilyn pictures and the boxing match," says Pfeiffer, "is that if you think of the creative process as a conversation between a creator and his materials, usually in the end the will of the creator is victorious over the raw material. For me, what's interesting about digital media is that the reverse happens. The power of the medium really overwhelms the will of the creator. I feel like we're seeing artistic productions now that are really hard to talk about because they almost defy conventional aesthetic judgement."

Early in his career, Pfeiffer's work related to Filipino and gay identity, but he thinks his work since then is "at least as political." He seems to love classical aesthetics and to love breaking them down. "I was purposeful about using the male pronoun for the creator," he says. "There is a sexual and a racial aspect to this idea of the creator being overwhelmed by the raw material."

Pfeiffer re-creates the voyeuristic sequence in Hitchcock's Psycho as a primal scene of modern perception.
photograph by Robin Holland
Pfeiffer re-creates the voyeuristic sequence in Hitchcock's Psycho as a primal scene of modern perception.


Pfeiffer's show runs through January 7 at The Project, 427 W. 126th St.

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