Paul Pfeiffer b. 1966
Fragment of a Crucifixion (After Francis Bacon) (1999)
Duration: 46"

"Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion" (2001), like the Francis Bacon painting to which the title refers, is a video triptych that uses art of the past as a springboard for up-to-the-minute meditations on current social obsessions.

The triptych is made from three miniature video projectors affixed to the wall on short armatures. The side-by-side projected images are tiny (just 4 by 6 inches), requiring that you stand close and peer into them.

What you see is a short, repeating loop showing a familiar modern spectacle--a pro basketball game in a huge stadium, witnessed from the court-level closeness of network TV. The image on the wall is writ small and with concentrated intensity, like an electronic manuscript illumination.

The crowd-filled bleachers are a silently roaring blur and flashbulbs pop like a summer meteor shower, but there isn't a basketball player in sight. Pfeiffer has digitally erased the men, who leave ghost-images in the rippling electronic ether. All that's clearly seen is the basketball careening through space, back and forth. It's like essence-of-thrill, pure sensation weirdly abstracted.