Haim Steinbach. Charm of tradition, 1985. Plastic laminated wood shelf; cotton, rubber, nylon, and leather athletic shoes; polyester, plastic, metal and deer hooves lamp, 38 x 58 x 15 inches
Steinbach, a contemporary of Koons, produces a shelving modality to enable presentations of value ranges. The exhibit is itself an execution of the question behind design, production and distribution of the ‘object’. The work is complete with installation instructions and is shipped from exhibition to exhibition. Position within the space is the arbitrary decision of the curator. The artist’s role is to negate the closure of space through neutral syntax – a language that the viewer can neither state as true or false, a language that negates and confirms the value range, a language that is neither useful or useless. Here, aesthetics deliver the failure of space. It is not the connectivity between objects but the juxtaposition of values within values recursively that denote a space that become accessible only through negating a language construct.
For more than four decades, Haim Steinbach has explored the psychological, aesthetic, cultural and ritualistic aspects of collecting and arranging already existing objects. His work engages the concept of “display” as a form that foregrounds objects, raising consciousness of the play of presentation. Steinbach selects and arranges objects – which range from the natural to the ordinary, the artistic to the ethnographic – thereby emphasizing their identities, inherent meanings and associations. An important influence in the growth of post-modern artistic dialogue, Steinbach’s work has radically redefined the status of the object in art. Tanya Bonakdar Gallery