The Power Plant

If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way

Mario Pfeifer

Past Exhibition

Jun 22 – Sep 02 2019

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, 2019. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.


SUPPORT DONORS

Elisa Nuyten & David Dime

INTERNATIONAL ARTS PARTNER

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CURATOR

GAËTANE VERNA

ASSISTANT CURATOR

NABILA ABDEL NABI

The Power Plant presents three video installations by Mario Pfeifer for his first solo exhibition in Canada.

Mario Pfeifer’s work centres on narratives often forced out of our frames of vision. In this, his first solo exhibition in Canada, the Berlin-based artist presents a trilogy of video installations. Demonstrating a profound commitment to the stories of individuals and communities, Pfeifer sees himself as an intermediary to bring uncovered stories to broader attention. He immerses himself in the domains in which he works so as to present them in all their complexity and contradiction.

#blacktivist (2015) is a two-channel video installation produced in collaboration with Brooklyn rap group Flatbush ZOMBiES. The work brings together Pfeifer’s music video for the group’s track Blacktivist with found imagery and interviews in a startling critique of contemporary gun violence. Footage of ‘Defense Distributed’, a Texan organization notorious for developing plans for the first DIY 3D-printed handgun, is brought together with disturbing imagery of police brutality, as well as a surreal narrative charting the Flatbush ZOMBiES’ own imagined response.

The footage at the heart of the three-channel installation Approximation in the digital age to a humanity condemned to disappear (2014) was filmed over a period of four months with the Yaghan people in Tierra del Fuego, Chile. Presenting an indigenous community forced to abandon or adapt their traditions as a result of settlers, anthropologists, tourists and the demands of global capitalism, Approximation brings together high-resolution imagery of the contemporary activities of the community with a soundtrack by Iranian born American electronic sound artist, producer and musician Kamran Sadeghi.

Pfeifer’s most recent work, Again (2018), which debuted at the 10th Berlin Biennale, confronts attitudes to immigration and justice in the artist’s home country of Germany. Playing on the format of television crime re-enactments, the two-channel video installation restages the sequence of events involving Schabas Saleh Al-Aziz, a Kurdish-Iraqi refugee in Germany who was tied to a tree by four local men following what they perceived as violent behaviour in a supermarket. Charting his tragic fate and the polarizing media response that followed, Pfeifer’s work uses reconstruction and public responses to expose rising xenophobia and racial division.

Connecting to each of these works, Pfeifer has been commissioned by Contact Photography Festival and The Power Plant to produce a billboard outside the gallery depicting the Tierra del Fuego landscape. The artist’s overlaid text, reiterating the exhibition’s title, serves to indicate his open-ended approach, expressing a resistance to preconceived conclusions and his perpetual interest in inviting us to question our own standpoint in relation to the content of his works. One cannot see these works with indifference; instead, they compel us to think of our own behaviour and prejudices.

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, 2019. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, 2019. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, 2019. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, 2019. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, 2019. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, 2019. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, 2019. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Mario Pfeifer, If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, 2019. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

LEARN MORE

Watch Mario Pfeifer's Interview with The Power Plant

Watch In Conversation: Mario Pfeifer with Stan Douglas | 22 June 2019

Watch Mario Pfeifer In Conversation With Gaëtane Verna as part of Art Basel's Online Viewing Rooms project

SUMMER 2019 PROGRAM GUIDE

Click here to read more about The Power Plant's Summer 2019 exhibitions and programming for the season!

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About the Artist


Mario Pfeifer

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