Haim Steinbach (Rehovot, Israel, 1944) moved with his family to the United States in 1957 to New York City, where he still resides. He received a BFA from Pratt Institute (1968) and an MA from Yale (1973).
Since the 1970s, Haim Steinbach's art has focused on the selection and arrangement of objects: in particular, everyday objects. To bring them to light, Steinbach creates display devices, presentation structures. Ranging from the natural to the ordinary and from the artistic to the ethnographic, the artist explores the psychological, aesthetic, cultural and ritual aspects of objects and their contexts. Through his peculiar mode of presentation, the artist shapes works aimed at emphasizing the identity contained in the objects themselves and the meanings created through their interaction. Through this process, the artist has redefined the status of the object in art.
In the exhibition or display, the wall, shelf and object are used as indicators reflecting everyday social, cultural and political life. Objects of both functional and purely aesthetic types become the key elements of Steinbach's art practice, "It is about reflecting the object as 'set up': 'display' is presentation," said the artist. "It is the awareness of being present and participating in the rituals of communication, in the preparation, arrangement, selection and arrangement of things."
Since 1990, Steinbach has also exhibited fragments of found texts, keeping the same font and layout but enlarging the entire image. The artist considers these sentences as part of his collection of objects. Steinbach said he has "a collection of sentences, mostly slogans, from pages of magazines, books and other printed material in general. What interests me is the play in which language becomes image and image becomes language."
In more recent years, the artist investigates the mutability of an object's own meanings, relative to color and form. In particular, the ways in which architecture is an object beyond its appearance, shape, color or size. Like architecture, the object also occupies space, whether it is the interior or exterior of a volume. Using simple building materials-metal profiles and colored plasterboard-Steinbach shows us the representation of walls within space. By reconfiguring space in this way, the artist asks us to reorient our relationship with that man-made environment to which we usually pay no attention. Here architecture comes to the fore, reminding us that it itself is composed of culturally relevant materials and surfaces.
His first solo museum exhibition was in 1988 at the Musée d'Art Contemporain in Bordeaux. For Documenta IX (1992), Steinbach borrowed and exhibited some objects owned by Jan Hoet, the director of Documenta. He also participated in the Venice Biennale (1993, 1997), the Lyon Biennale (2000) and the Paris Triennale (2012). Major exhibitions of his work have been hosted at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum (with Ettore Spalletti, in 1993), Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art (1995), Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna (1997-98), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (2000), Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2005). In 2012 for six months the Artist's Institute in New York devoted a series of exhibitions to the artist's work. In 2013 the exhibition ‘Once Again the World is Flat’, hosted at CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, was then in 2014 at Kunsthalle Zurich and Serpentine Gallery, London. In 2018-2019, the exhibition ‘Every Single Day’ was presented at Museum Kurhaus, Kleve and Museion, Bolzano.