Mario Pfeifer


Mario Pfeifer ist a PRIX EUROPA nominated producer and director whose works explores representational structures and conventions in the medium of film and video, in locations ranging from Mumbai to New York, from Brazil to the Atacama dessert, from Tierra del Fuego to East-Germany to the Western Sahara. He conceives each project out of a specific cultural situation, researches social-political backgrounds and weaves cross-cultural art historical, filmic, technological and political references into a richly layered practice.

Mario works closely with communities, establishing intimate relationships from which he conceives his projects in collaboration with his protagonists. Critically investigating anthropological and ethnographic image production, Pfeifer has expanded essayistic narratives to create multiple screen video installations, integrating scientific imagery, animations or music videos to engage with urgent societal conditions to audiences beyond genre definitions. #blacktivist, in collaboration with the rap trio Flatbush ZOMBIES, reached an online audience of more than three million viewers since its release. 

Mario's films and videos, filmed in various locations around the world, show the activism of a rap collective in Brooklyn, document the life and the gradual cultural destruction of the Yaghan people in southern Chile, engage with refugees in the Western Sahara deserts, or examine the beliefs of Afro-Brazilian priests and spiritual healers in Brazil. The films and installations feature powerful sound and visual effects, evoking the aesthetics of a hyperreal cinema verité. A unifying element throughout Pfeifer’s works is the question of social cohesion and identity formation in various democratic states.

In About Education and Fear ... [2016], produced in Germany, the artist investigates in a nine-hour-long film the causes for today’s explosive social situation emerging from the ultra-right wing political spectrum in East-Germany.

His acclaimed 2019 film Again, starring Dennenesch Zoudé and Mark Waschke, uses an reenactment to re-stage a violent attack on a Iraqi asylum seeker in a supermarket that caused a nationwide debate on civil courage and vigilante justice in Germany.

Again was nominated for the PRIX EUROPA in the category TV Documentary in 2019.

Again world premiered at the 50th Visions du Réel International Film Festival in the International Competition, followed by the Asia-Pacific Premiere at the 14th Doc Edge in New Zealand, the Italian Premiere at the 37th Asolo Art Film Festival, the Korean Premiere at the 11th DMZ IDFF as well as the US Premiere at the National Gallery Washington D.C. during the Summer Film Festival [all in 2019].

Mario is an alumni of the Feature Expanded Masterclass of 2018 and a current Documentary Campus Masterschool participant.







Mario Pfeifer graduated from the art academy Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, was a Fulbright scholar in 2008 at the California Institute of the Arts, and a recipient of DAAD fellowships in 2010 and 2012. Mario participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2009.

Furthermore he was an artist-in-residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program [ISCP] in New York, Gasworks in London, and Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. In 2017 he has been named the RWE innogy – foundation for energy and society scholar.

Sternberg Press and Spector Books have published monographs on Mario Pfeifer’s research and cultural projects. 

Mario Pfeifer’s installations were presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art [LACMA], Los Angeles; MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main; N.B.K. Neuer Berliner Kunstverein; Fotomuseum Winterthur; KOW, Berlin; Beursschouwburg, Brussels; MAAT Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon; KW Kunst-Werke, Berlin; and his film presented at international Film Festivals in Berlin, Cologne, London, Madrid, Paris, Oberhausen, New York, Seoul and Toronto. He participated in the 3rd Montevideo Biennal (2016), The 11th Bienal do Mercosul (2018) and the 10th berlin Biennale (2018).

Numerous press reviews appeared in Artforum, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, FAZ, taz, The Guardian, Kaleidoscope, Senses of Cinema, The Brooklyn Rail, ArtReview, Camera Austria, Monopol among many others. Mario Pfeifer has lectured in Chile, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, the U.K. and in the US.

In 2016 the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig, Germany organized Mario Pfeifer’s first survey exhibition, entitled Explosion. In 2019 The Power Plant Toronto presents the first North American survey exhibition on Mario’s works.

In 2017 he founded the production house [blackboardfilms].

 You can access a complete CV here.


Read a profile about Mario by Alexander Forbes / Artsy here.