Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Haim Steinbach at Tanya Bonakdar


"the artifacts of a future civilization.”-Germano Celant
It perhaps should come as no surprise that Haim Steinbach’s practice has seemed increasingly relevant during the past decade, a period in which the rituals around commercial objects have become all the more pervasive and resolved in their choreographies of desire. Indeed, the heightened attention to design in mass culture—its near-total application in commerce, from the making of products to the construction of display space, at the service of rendering life itself more a matter of lifestyle—would seem an immediately resonant context for an artist long interested in the ways in which our subjectivity is inflected by the things with which we choose to surround ourselves. One might even productively compare corporate focus groups, which seek to articulate and refine the emotional and intellectual associations consumers have with their belongings... But whereas the focus group is steeped in a kind of mercenary anthropology, Steinbach’s endeavors hold up a mirror not only to the symbolic operations attending the creation of exchange value but also to the real psychological dynamics that underpin such identification.  - Tim Griffin
If desire is what Steinbach’s work produces, it arrives with blunt, unexpected force. That might be because our drive to acquire and organize things is, in part, a conduit through which we understand ourselves. Less a comment on capitalism than an investigation of the production of the self, Steinbach’s work acknowledges the fragility of subjecthood—that our funny, fragile egos are bound up in the unexpectedly rich terrain of the knickknacks and bric-a-brac we collect and covet.- Johanna Burton
Whether his manipulations of anticipation and desire produce a unique psychological space or are merely clever remains in question. -Joshua Decter