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Mario Pfeifer, Blacktivist, 2015

Mario Pfeifer, Blacktivist, 2015


Mario Pfeifer's work explores representational structures and conventions in the medium of film, in locations ranging from Mumbai to California to the Western Sahara. Conceiving each project out of a specific cultural situation, he researches socio-political backgrounds and weaves further cross-cultural, art historical, filmic, and political references into a richly layered practice, ranging from film and video installations to photographs and text installations. 

Solo Exhibitions

2016 Museum of Contemporary Art – GFZK, Leipzig
2016 ACUD, Berlin
2015  Fotomuseum Winterthur, Suisse
2015  KOW, Berlin
2015  Ludlow38, New York, USA
2015  Circa Projects, Newcastle, UK
2015  One Night Only, Oslo, Norway
2014  Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Concepción, Chile
2014  Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile
2014  Galeria Macchina,  Santiago de Chile
2013  KHOJ, New Delhi, India
2013  Project 88, Mumbai, India
2012  Circa Projects, Sunderland, UK
2011  Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden
2011  KOW, Berlin
2010  Weserburg - Museum für Moderne Kunst, Bremen


Up and Coming: Why Artist Mario Pfeifer’s Method Might Just Change the World

New York-based hip hop trio the Flatbush ZOMBiES’ music video for “Blacktivist” has 2.5 million YouTube views. In it, a likeness of President Obama kneels in front of the ZOMBiES (who stand in front of a mash-up between the Confederate flag and that of ISIS) with a bag over his head, prepped for decapitation; Defense Distributed-designed guns are plucked out of 3D printers by potentially felonious hands; Robert Downey Jr. dons blackface in Tropic Thunder; and Eric Garner meets his death at the hands of the NYPD. “Blacktivist” is likely the most widely viewed piece of video art in history. That’s because while the music and lyrics are by the Flatbush ZOMBiES, the video is the work of German multidisciplinary artist Mario Pfeifer

The 34-year-old Pfeifer lives between New York and Berlin, when he’s not on various research trips and residencies that form the source material for the majority of his recent work. He collaborated with the ZOMBiES—Erick Arc Elliott, Meechy Darko, and Zombie Juice—over a period of six months on #blacktivist (2015), the title of the two-channel version of the video he created with producer Drew Arnold, in an edition of 10. The piece premiered last September at the Goethe-Institut’s New York space, Ludlow 38—and on YouTube. It has since cropped up at The Armory Show, is on view at this week’s Art Cologne, and will be show at Berlin’s ACUD this summer. It furthers his practice, which melds ethnographic research, a documentary aesthetic, internet mash-ups, and critical editing for pieces that serve up powerful truths about society without commenting directly on any of their subject matter.

“All of the projects that I’ve realized in the last seven years grew out of a cultural, geographic location. I need the location to be able to start working,” says Pfeifer, who is currently in Brazil working on his next film. “Blacktivist came out of my desire to work with rap musicians. And the most natural way to work with rap musicians is to produce music. Since I’m a video producer I can only produce visuals.”

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