Almine Rech is pleased to present Haim Steinbach’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Titled “Pets” the show consists of ten of the artist’s exemplary shelf and object arrangements as well as a wall text installation. One of the most influential artists working with recycled cultural material and artifacts, Steinbach has been intent on exploring the social, psychological and architectural contents of object relations as witnessed in the contemporary landscape.
Haim Steinbach’s art is based on the selection and arrangement of already existing objects. The objects offered are culled from a wide range of sources: found, borrowed, gifts, personal and private collections, flea markets, yard sales, supermarkets, department stores and eBay. They are positioned as if they were staged, arranged like notes in a musical score or words in a sentence. An arrangement of objects, conscious or not, always tells a story. In Steinbach’s works, the choice of objects and their grouping reflect their typological affinities and metonymic relationships.
A recurrent object in Steinbach’s recent works is a rubber dog chew named “Kong.” It is a ziggurat composed of three spheres: large, medium and small, stacked one atop another. It is an aesthetic object, a pet toy that is hollow inside, having a hole at each end for injecting honey or peanut butter in order to make it more appealing. The “Kong” is a trope, a marker of time or an interval among the objects in the works.
Haim Steinbach was born in Rehovot, Israel, in 1944. In 1957 his family moved to U.S.A., settling in the Bronx, New York. He studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, the Université d’Aix Marseille in Aix en Provence and later at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. In 1987 Illeana Sonnabend presented his work at her New York gallery. This was followed with a solo exhibition at the CAPC Musee d’art Contemporain in Bordeaux, France, 1988. His work was later exhibited internationally at Documenta IX, 1992, XLVII Esposizione Internazionale D'Arte Venice Biennale, 1997 and the Biennale de Lyon 2000. One person exhibitions have included the Palais de Beaux Arts, Bruxelles (1992), The Guggenheim Museum, New York (1993), Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Turin (1995), Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (1997), Haifa Museum, Haifa, Israel (1999), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, and Haus der Kunst, Munich (2000), and in 2005 at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, California.
His work is in the collections of many major museums, including the Guggenheim Museum, New York; capcMusee d’art contemporain, Bordeaux; Caja de Pensiones, Madrid; Castello di Rivoli, Torino; Fonds National D’Art Contemporain, Paris; FRAC Bretagne, Chateaugiron; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna.
The artist lives and works in New York and San Diego and is professor of art at the University of California, San Diego.