If you listen to the depths of your heart and measure the heights of the horizon, you will hear a single melody, and in this melody the stone and the star are equally in tune.
Khalil Gibran

Stone and light, architecture and space, construction and openness, time and transience are the elements that Johannes Pfeiffer uses, creates, explores in his sculptural events.

It is always about capturing the interplay and counterplay of these ingredients, about opening a sometimes (or: an at times) surprising dialogue between the different components.
At the same time his sculptures scan the range of complementary couplets which have become fundamental to art since the 20th century: body/ space, volume/emptiness, heaviness/ lightness, horizontal/ vertical, stable/ unstable.

Sculpture, at the same time, may always be a frontier and a transition: It mediates between architecture and painting, shares its being in space with architecture. In the three-dimensional idealization of matter, however, it approaches the illusory world of painting.
On the one hand, “sculpture is at the same stage as architecture in so far as it gives shape to the perceptible as such, to matter in its material and spatial form. But all the same it differs from architecture in that it does not remould the inorganic, as the opposite of spirit, into a spiritually created purposeful environment with forms which have their purpose outside themselves; on the contrary, it gives to spirit itself, purposive as it is and independent in itself, a corporeal shape appropriate to the very nature of spirit and its individuality, and it brings both – body and spirit – before our vision as one and the same indivisible whole. The sculptured shape is therefore emancipated from the architectural purpose of serving as a mere external nature and environment for the spirit and it exists simply for its own sake. Bur despite this freedom, a sculpture does nevertheless remain essentially connected with its surroundings. “

Pfeiffer´s works made of bricks, which unite sculptural and architectural qualities, articulate the difference between the genres as being comrades in arms. The relationship between the creative and the functional, the ordinary and the worrying is pondered, courageously contemplated over and over again in the sculptural wall forms erected built of brick. In this work group Johannes Pfeiffer starts from the idea of the additive basic form of the brick, which he uses as a module and which he transfers into complex, almost mysterious works. These, in addition to the rational structure through their placement, reveal their tension and roping in as it were their metaphysical shadows.

The module as basic form has a long history, especially in the field of architecture. Thus, the use of this tool is stringent, as it is the relationship to space, to environment, to architecture, which, for the artist, has become an essential impulse of his site-specific installations right from the beginning. With this the possibilities of the variation and modulation, of the difference and repetition of simple building blocks are being explored. With every repetition the material and imaginary actors entangle, shift, change and mobilize. As in the field of architecture relationships are being created, reflected, set into motion by these interventions. The objects the quite naturally absorb architectural design – radiate it: They form different rooms, spatial fragments within real space, geometrically comprehensible, manifold open in the complexity of perception. Interior and exterior, space and volume, symbol and sculptural reality are in unique balance, take priority over superficial opposites. In the experience, real space and ideal space become an extremely complex structure which always resonates the double movement of spatial experience. Inspired by the Baroque style it is, in a sense, about the penetration of the plastic into the core of space. Reflection and theatricalization, the captivating becoming and this becoming´s interweaving with space are also Baroque inventions, which Pfeiffer employs in a new manner: then and now expression of a fragile-systematic thinking, of an awareness of crisis in view of the illusory character of order.
At the same time the iconography of the material itself plays a role in the usage of brick whose assertions of importance, especially in the case of brick, are contradictory and ambivalent. Despite being one of the oldest prefabricated building elements its use for buildings and monuments also fired the confrontation between the natural and the artificial, between tradition and renewal. In comparison with the noble marble the industrially produced bricks could really provide the evidence of the rootlessness and soullessness of modern age. On the other hand, in the discussion about modern and traditional building material, brick could also be identified with tradition tied to regional customs. Picking up on the topos of the talking stones (saxa loquuntur) bricks were believed to speak Plattdeutsch, whereas smooth clinker was banned.
But erratic stones and boulders are also tied to changing attributions of meaning that are related to their pre- and early historic use as well as to dolmens or megalithic tombs and to the later reception of their sepulchral culture.
Political and cultural meanings engrave this material, too, meanings which can reformulate ideas of “nature” and “time” by their mysterious aura, by their past saved in the stone.
By means of the installations these very diverse attributions of material become allies of visual, but irritating spatial images, when, as Abbondanza shows, Pfeiffer´s reckless Soluzione lirica stands next to the leaning tower of Pisa, when marble pebbles pour out of metal bowls, when an oversized sledge is carrying a boulder uphill like in his work Sulla Via del Ritorno: a way back to another time, a style from another time.
Almost paradoxically, materiality itself becomes an essential condition that imagery can be provided and achieved at all. Imagery and materiality have always been entangled with each other in an original and manifold way. Their relationship is complex, a picture puzzle, in which neither of both elements could be isolated or split off in perception. At the same time the material, the materiality has its own disturbing power. It pours into the image process and, as well, into the image as something eventually incalculable. Never is the material of art totally available or tamable. And exactly this causes a non-repayable or controllable dynamic of the image which thus never can - or wants to – solidify to a stable unit. Paradoxically, materiality does not grant the permanence of the image, it is not as much the stable foundation of the image as it questions finality and locking capability: In a volte, exactly the material makes the figurativeness precarious.
Pfeiffer´s work groups always find new connections between material and image.
And, simultaneously, with Johannes Pfeiffer we are dealing with an imaginary space, in which nobody is in possession of the truth – these presentations bring being and appearance into an Incalculable/ imponderable relationship, question superficial certainties. It is not about the Either - the Or of materiality and transcendence, but rather about an Either – And.
The coming together of the various circumstances of the factual to one whole which goes beyond this whole up to figurativeness, which at the same time becomes effective as well haptically as optically and equally challenges the sense of touch, sight and thought, realizes itself as three dimensional figurativeness, as a theatre made of stone, made of illusion, in which we as spectators have as well our entrances and exits as the material, the light, the atmosphere, the time.
Contradictions and features in common, differences and correspondences of the materials, brick and nylon string, grid and colour, wood and boulder, pebble and bowl, discovery and invention, building and sculpture merge into a complex image in each case, in which they nevertheless are not dissolved, but step into appearance repealed.
Pfeiffer is trying to visualize and investigate the qualities of each of the materials used as one of the thematic constants of contemporary sculpture. Each form is placed in its materiality, and (for the moment) results from its material and its significant qualities. The specifics and unity of this artistic creature, however, relates to the dynamic of the transcending form – with an associative content crystalizing the artist’s experiences. Parallel to their material condition these spatial images unfold existential borderline experiences. Moments of uncertainty, of crisis, of restlessness, but also the balancing of polar forces become comprehensible by the sculptural order in the literal sense. Particularly in their construction and through them the works light also on the vulnerability of orders and, at the same time, the possibility of change and metamorphosis of hierarchies and systems. Pfeiffer´s work groups, their development and grouping so unites process and result that the sculpture reflects and keeps open its relationship both to its environment as a lively filled time-space and its history. Not quite clear?
The precarious balance, the (eye-deceiving) lability, the passage from the three-dimensional body to the line drawn into space show that to a certain degree all space is formed by tension relations. Our being-on-the-world is a network of relations, its tensions are to be endured and withstood. Pfeiffer´s constellations, balances of forces, which become visible, as well as the situations of overextension and collapsing are the conditions of our daily, fragile situations.
The light that denotes and enunciates the void, is a shaper of the room, the shaper of the room par excellence: “Light is also medium, a medium of perception (even before it becomes a medium of presentation). Therefore, the expression Lichtraum/ space of light is correct. It wants to say that only in the light the space begins to get light. Space first is getting light. In spaces of light, we attend the processes of the creation of room. Thus, the getting light of space is something that happens within the spectator him-/herself: the getting light is a process.” Light leads the production of a new perception, its temporalization and, at the same time, its spatialization to a place. But a darkness belongs to every light. In the tradition light and darkness are the “absolute metaphors” of becoming and passing away, of birth and death, of redemption and downfall, metaphors of life being antagonistic in themselves.
This space-creating energy is produced and illuminated by Pfeiffer´s light installations. The sculpture Life Boats, illuminated by blacklight lamps, a serial arrangement at the docks along the Vlatava River at Prague visualizes the floating of time in which beginning and end meet.

(1) Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Ästhetik II, Werke in 20 Bänden, Bd. 14, Frankfurt am Main 1970, S. 352
(2) Vgl. Paul Hofer, Der barocke Raum in der Plastik, in: Die Kunstformen des Barock, hrsg. von Rudolf Stamm, München 1956, S. 144.
(3) Vgl. Christian Fuhrmeister, Materialikonographie von Klinker und künstlichem Stein, in: Historische Architekturoberflächen: Kalk Putz Farbe. (ICOMOS. Hefte des Deutschen Nationalkomitees Band XXXIX), hrsg. von Jürgen Pursche, München 2003, S. 170
(4) Vgl. Christian Fuhrmeister, Erratische Steine: Die (politische) Bedeutung von Findlingen in den letzten 200 Jahren, in: Jahrbuch der Männer vom Morgenstern – Heimatbund an Elb- und Wesermündung, Bd. 91/2012, Bremerhaven 2013, S. 19
(5) Vgl. dazu: Vgl. Michael Fried, Kunst und Objekthaftigkeit in: Minimal Art. Eine kritische Retrospektive, Dresden/Basel 1995, hrsg. von Gregor Stemmrich, S. 344
(6) Hartmut Böhme, Das Licht als Medium der Kunst, in: Humboldt-Universität Vorträge, Heft 66, hrsg. von der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin 1996, S. 4f
(7) Vgl.dazu Walter Hin z, Ahura Mazda und Ahriman. Der Dualismus von Licht und Finsternis im Zaroastrismus. in: M.Svilar (Hg.): „Und es ward Licht“. Zur Kulturgeschichte des Lichts. Bern u. Frankfurt/M. 1983, S. 11-32.
(8) Vgl. Michael Fried, Kunst und Objekthaftigkeit in: Minimal Art. Eine kritische Retrospektive, Dresden/Basel 1995, hrsg. von Gregor Stemmrich, S. 344