Haim Steinbach
USA, 1944
At the age of thirteen, Haim Steinbach and his family left Israel for the United States. They settled in New York and he studied art at the Pratt Institute (Brooklyn), in Marseille and later at Yale University. In the seventies he became known for his Minimalist paintings, which combined different pieces of patterned linoleum. In 1979 he had his first exhibition with objects at the Artists Space in New York. The first shelves appeared in 1980, intricate supports made from a collage of different materials. Their obvious manual quality contrasted with the objects placed on them: a drum of Ajax, a glass with cutlery or a much used teapot. Those shelves later gave way to more sophisticated ones. From 1984 they became Steinbach's standard support. From then on they were triangular and coated with formica and, with slight variations of angle and colour, were repeated systematically until well into the nineties. At exhibitions such as "Art and Its Double" (1986), his work was in tune with the debates on the value of objects that were in progress at the time and were much influenced by the theories of Jean Baudrillard. At many personal shows, his work displayed its close ties with the consumer society, whilst his shelves evolved -in an economic sense- towards more expensive objects. Later, his exhibitions concentrated on large environmental installations. Within those montages, the objects acquire a strangeness that invites us to question the mechanisms of exhibition.
Carlos Guerra