The work of Jan Pfeiffer has its own specific and distinctive logic in the Czech artistic environment. He graduated from the studio of Jiří Příhoda at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and in many aspects of his work he follows up on the work of his teacher with symbolic architectonic space. At the same time, however, symbolic value acquires a completely different meaning and value for him. While in the work of Jiří Příhoda or even younger Dominik Lang, we find primarily conceptual and institutional understanding of work with their creative interferences using stage design and interventions, Jan Pfeiffer’s past work to the present reflects a fundamental trait of a complex symbolic system, referring to social-cultural, mythological, religious and historical bonds to specific situations or moments, which he works with or in. Each of his more complex works becomes, in a certain sense of the word, a cultural probe, which simultaneously, thanks to its coding and the artist’s interest in specific forms tied to given meanings, acquires almost abstract autonomous value.
The foundation of these analyses in Pfeiffer’s works has already become an entire spectrum of places and topics encumbered by culture and history – for example the contexts within the Palestine territories (Each Embracing all the Rest, 2012 or The Fire Begins all over Again, 2013), Bulgaria (Ellipsis, 2013), Dubai (Observer, 2010) or human expeditions to the moon (Big Events Elsewhere, 2013), or the question of political borders (In the Fields, 2013), and the urbanistic genius loci. The artist’s bond to architecture and its symbolic, as well as formal role makes up a substantial part of his work. This is true from the point of view of the actual architectonic form, as well as in the cultural and political context (Use the Shadows of Buildings Regardless of What They Represent, 2009).
The form and symbolism of an arch (e.g. Arch, 2013), which can be interpreted in many ways and which connects a great number of semantic and functional aspects with its long history, has exceptional meaning in a part of his works. Another fundamental moment through which we can look at Pfeiffer’s work is the question of memory – it appears in his works both as a direct visually-haptic and sensual question, as well as on the symbolic level of general cultural memoirs and historical bonds. Pfeiffer did an interesting paraphrase of the relationship between symbolic and abstract aspects of his work in his project Ostentatious Abstraction (2014) where he interconnected the attributes of sound, installation and choreographed arrangement of actors into a tight gesamkunstwerk.
While in his early work, Pfeiffer treated more questions of perception and physical or object grasp of a given phenomenon, recently his work has shifted to specific positions in the Czech environment. He has shifted from conceptual or actively literal form to symbolic form, which, in its character, is anachronically timeless, looking into the past, but at the same time able to articulate fundamental current topics.
Curator of exhibitions:
curator of Project Telescopic Studio, Gallery Václav Špála, Prague, Czech Republic
curator of Gallery Pavilon, Prague, Czech Republic - www.galeriepavilon.cz
commissioner of Gallery (GAVU) of Academy of Fine Arts (AVU), Prague, Czech Republic
Catalogs of Group Exhibitions:
Paf - 8th festival of Film Animation, Other vision, Olomouc, Czech Republic
Essl Award 2009, Essl Museum, Austria2009 Urban game, Prague, Czech Republic
Moscow biennial, Moscow, Russia
Standpunkte Landeplatze, Weiden, Germany
Jiné vize 2010, PAF - 8. Přehlídka animovaného filmu, Olomouc, Česká republika
Bienále mladých, Dům U Kamenného zvonu, Praha, Česká republika
Hloupé a chytré, Galerie kritiků, Praha, Česká republika
Sběratelé / Československý pavilon, Brotkunsthalle, Vídeň, Rakousko
Jiné vize 2009, PAF - 8. Přehlídka animovaného filmu, Olomouc, Česká republika
Essl Award 2009, Museum Essl, Rakousko
Urban Kiss, Praha, Česká republika
Moskevské bienále, Moskva, Rusko
Standpunkte Landeplatze, Weiden, Německo
Page Gallery presentaion, newspaper - Lidové noviny - 10.10. 2009
Essl Award CCE 2009, by Katarína Uhlířová, Flash Art - Vol. III, No. 13, 2009
Urban Kiss, by Aleš Kuneš, Atelier - Czech magazine for contemporary art - No. 19, 2009
Krásný nový undurgoumd, by Jan Vitvar, Newspaper Respekt - Vol. XX, No. 20, 2008
Prvních pět minut, by Jan Vitvar, Newspaper Respekt - Vol. XIX, No. 26, 2008
Ve vile, Atelier - Czech magazine for contemporary art - No. 13, 2008
Exhibition by Ondřej Horák, Atelier - Czech magazine for contemporary art - No. 2, 2008