Haim Steinbach. dancer with raised right foot, 2011. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Press releases | 5.nov.2013

NEW EXHIBITION: Haim Steinbach - The Window

What is a collection of quirky salt and pepper shakers doing at an art museum? Since the late 1970s the internationally acclaimed artist Haim Steinbach has been an important exponent of art based on pre-existing objects. Now he expands that field to incorporate artworks from the museum’s collections as he opens a new series of exhibitions in the x-rummet venue at the SMK, exploring and challenging the entire museum concept.

Haim Steinbach: The Window
15 November 2013 - 23 February 2014

Objects, objects, objects
The American artist Haim Steinbach (b. 1944) is interested in objects. He brings together quite ordinary objects from a wide range of contexts, arranging them on shelves, walls, and in display cases. At heart this is a perfectly ordinary, fundamental human practice, but for Steinbach it is linked to his interest in how things imperceptibly carry inherent meanings with them, e.g. from former contexts, giving them a kind of mental patina. The process establishes new meanings as various objects of widely different kinds are juxtaposed. As Steinbach himself puts it: "I aim to interfere with the order of things. My goal is to find other ways of ordering objects."

Matisse and all sorts of other things!
In his project for x-rummet Steinbach incorporates works from the SMK collections, treating them like found objects. Whereas art institutions typically regard artworks as exalted and revered objects Steinbach raises the question of appreciation and pleasure in regard to any object we apprehend. When he uses artworks such as one of the museum’s main highlights, Matisse’s Interior with Violin from 1918, he incorporates it in a new order. For Steinbach, artworks and everyday objects are cultural artefacts, which relate to each other in a network of historical, aesthetic, and anthropological connections, thereby revealing new or overlooked meanings.

Steinbach’s unorthodox approach constitutes a radical intervention into the art historical routines that govern art museums’ self-image and the ways in which they exhibit art. Whereas institutions will typically employ chronological, thematic, or monographic principles Steinbach brings together works and objects across all boundaries of time and genres in accordance with more intuitive, immediate, yet still sophisticated criteria. For example when he arranges Robert Smithson’s iconic Eight-Part-Piece (Cayuga Salt Mine Project) from 1969 side by side with a collection of salt and pepper shakers collected from amongst the museum staff.

The Window
In addition to a few of Steinbach’s own works the x-rummet exhibition also includes paintings, sculptures, and video art from the SMK collections. Everything is staged within a structure of walls, some of which are only steel frames while others are clad in plasterboard. Various slots and openings allow us to glimpse other spaces within the installation, presenting us with ever-changing relation of objects and repeatedly expanding on their meaning. Steinbach regards the exhibition project as a single, cohesive work, which is about the function of spaces and objects and how modes of selection and presentation influence our perception of what we see.

In 1957 Haim Steinbach emigrated together with his family from Israel to New York, where he completed his art education and continues to live and work today. From the 1980s onwards he has exhibited his work at a range of major exhibition venues across the world, including the Venice Biennial, the Haus der Kunst in Munich, and the CCS Bard Hessel Museum in the state of New York. Steinbach’s works are represented at a number of prominent museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Tate Modern in London, and the Stedelijik Museum in Amsterdam. In 2014 he will be featured at Kunsthalle Zürich. He is represented by the galleries Lia Rumma in Milan, Tanya Bonakdar in New York, Laurent Godin in Paris, Dvir Gallery in Tel Aviv and White Cube in London. The x-rummet show constitutes Steinbach’s first-ever solo exhibition in Denmark.

New exhibition series in x-rummet
x-rummet is the SMK's experimental venue for contemporary art. Twice a year, a new artist is invited to create an exhibition specifically for x-rummet. Haim Steinbach’s contribution is the first in a new series where artists from Denmark and abroad will challenge the SMK by offering their takes on the role of the museum in the 21st century.

x-rummet is sponsored by The Obel Family Foundation.

Read more about the exhibition here.

PRESS PHOTOS for download.

For further information, please contact:

Jakob Fibiger Andreasen
Head of Press
T +45 2552 7203
M +45 2961 6949

Marianne Torp
Chief Curator
T +45 2552 7224

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  • 5.nov.2013
Updated: 15.oct.2014
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