Till Gerhard - Helter, Skelter, Shelter

Helter, Skelter, Shelter, 2005-2007

Author: Till Gerhard

Various materials.

Approximately 250 x 280 x 350 cm.

It is an accessible installation. The title unifies and makes reference to two pop songs that symbolically reflect the end of the peaceful counterculture of the sixties.

Helter Skelter by the Beatles is a sadly famous song from which Charles Manson claimed to have drawn inspiration for the murders of Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski’s wife, and her guests.

Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones is both a song and the title of a film about the Stones’ concert at Altamont, which gained notoriety due to the murder of a black spectator by the Hell’s Angels.

Rather than a mere composition of titles, Helter Skelter Shelter (2005-2007) can be understood as a “shelter” in the midst of a revolt (“helter skelter”), since the installation is really an association against remembered violence.

Inside the stand, the observer finds a near-pictorial “all-over” featuring all kinds of pop and subculture expressions. This could be interpreted as a play of inside and outside, the fact of belonging to and withdrawing from others and from society. The observer can participate in this game by opening the fridge, which is accessible from the outside, to grab a beer. This, in turn, activates a mechanism that switches on the lights and the music inside the stand for about 30 seconds. The Beatles’ legendary White Album (which contains the song Helter Skelter) is played. Afterwards, the observer can sit down at one of the nearby tables and enjoy his beer.

The work titled Helter Skelter Shelter (2005-2007) in the INELCOM Arte Contemporáneo collection was part of an exhibition held at the Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo in Madrid titled “Pop Politics, Activismos a 33 revoluciones” (November 2012-April 2013).