Haim Steinbach

SMK (National Gallery of Denmark)

Haim Steinbach, dancer with raised right foot, 2011. Baltic Birch plywood, plastic laminate and glass box; wood stool; painted bonded bronze Degas statuette, 52 x 56 x 25-5/8 inches. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Photo: Jean Vong.

November 13, 2013

Haim Steinbach
The Window
15 November 2013–23 February 2014

National Gallery of Denmark
Statens Museum for Kunst
Sølvgade 48-50
DK-1307 København K
Free admission

T +45 3374 8494
F +45 3374 8404
smk [​at​] smk.dk


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’s exhibition in x-rummet is based on the concept of “display.” Within an architectural setting of walls made of metal studs, sometimes covered with plasterboard, Steinbach presents a selection of artworks and objects. From the SMK collections he includes works by Matisse, Bruegel, Robert Smithson, and Joachim Koester among others. He also presents three of his own works based on already existing objects, texts, and materials. On a long glass shelf, he has arranged salt and pepper shakers collected amongst the museum staff.  

Throughout the wall structure, various slots and openings allow us to glimpse other spaces within the installation, and to relate one object to another from various points of view. The total work is about the function of spaces and objects, and how modes of selection and presentation influence our perception of what we see. The architectural environment itself establishes a range of references, combining forms from both domestic and institutional architecture. In effect, the artworks and the everyday objects are cultural artefacts, which also relate to each other in a network of historical, social, and anthropological connections, thereby revealing new or overlooked inherent meanings. As Steinbach himself puts it: “I aim to interfere with the order of things. My goal is to find other ways of ordering objects.”

Haim Steinbach is born in Israel in 1944. In 1957 he emigrated together with his family 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 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.


Haim Steinbach at National Gallery of Denmark
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SMK (National Gallery of Denmark)
November 13, 2013

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