Eli Keszler is a composer, musician and conceptual artist. He has exhibited throughout North America and Europe and received numerous awards and grants, including the MATA Young Composers Competition in 2012 and funding from New York’s Foundation for Contemporary Arts. His solo album “Oxtrin” was named 2011’s album of the year by both Wire Magazine and the Boston Globe. He currently lives and works in New York City.
“When does an instrument become a sculpture? Is it when humans cannot play it anymore?” Eli Keszler asks these questions of his work, and admits he does not know the answers. Influenced by his background as a percussionist, Kezsler’s work possesses both a chaotic energy and cool aloofness; even with a working knowledge of electroacoustic musical production, the webbed structures of wire and cables seem to exist just slightly beyond our grasp. Much like the romantic allure of a distant partner, Kezsler’s works reveal just enough to rouse curiousity but ultimately refuse us a complete intimacy.
2011’s Cold Pin, most recently exhibited in 2013 at Toronto’s InterAccess Gallery, is a performative sonic architecture. With a layout customizable to the exhibition space, the sprawl of 14 intertwined piano cables, and an assortment of RCA cables, pick-ups, and speakers, the piece itself visually and aurally resembles a potentially threatening parasite. Sounds generated by randomized strikes of the piano wire echo throughout the space without any apparent regard from the machine itself; its relationship with the exhibition space suggests a sentience, but the work operates independent of the viewer. This lack of interactivity creates a palpable tension and the unpredictability of the generated sounds keeps the viewer alert, curious and ultimately suspicious of the piece’s intent.
Keszler’s practice also includes various 2D media, and he creates meticulous blueprints for each installation. His drawing and painting works are almost indecipherable as spatial plannings, but possess a similar abstracted aesthetic and aloofness as his sound works.
View more of Keszler’s work on his website.
– Kate Zavitz Hicke