Oct. 25 2016 02:13 PM

Jefferson Eisenberg examines the “secret life of speakers” at Helmuth Projects

Revelations of the Chattering Ether...Revealed
Photo by Seth Combs

In this semi-regular department, arts editor Seth Combs reviews a notable new art show or exhibition.

Most art patrons can be a little naïve to just how much work goes into staging seemingly simple exhibitions. Most take years of planning, months to curate and days, if not weeks, to properly stage.

You could say the new show at Helmuth Projects, Revelations of the Chattering Ether...Revealed, was more than five years in the making. That's a bit misleading, though. Revelations attempts to encapsulate the fantastic and revelatory work that the gallery has done since it opened half a decade ago.

One of the first artists to show at Helmuth was Jefferson Eisenberg. The Bay Area-based sculptor and installation artist returned recently to revisit that 2011 show, and the results were moving and unnerving.

With help from other Helmuth artists, Eisenberg created two giant audio speakers, complete with RCA jacks in the back, to encase collage, sculpture and audio works. In one of the speakers the result is primarily psychedelic in nature, without coming across as too deferential or nostalgic. The other speaker encases a small-scale recreation of Eisenberg's original 2011 exhibition, complete with smaller sculptural works and droning soundscapes blaring out of actual audio speakers.

Guests were invited to go inside both speakers. Eisenberg later that evening mentioned wanting to explore the "secret life of speakers," as well as the occult and the paranoid, distorted proclamations that people used to listen to on AM talk radio.

Barring some change in plans, the show will be up through the end of the year. Helmuth itself is in a bit of transition phase, with owner and resident Josh Pavlick saying that he's not sure what the future holds for the space. However incidental it was, Revelations managed to be an amazing fifth anniversary show for Helmuth and I left hoping for five more years...and beyond.


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