Untitled (Halco and Tour d’Argent salt and pepper shakers)
8 1/4 x 13 x 3 3/8 inches (21 x 33 x 8.6 cm)
Edition of 15
Signed, dated and numbered on reverse of mirrored shelf, all etched
Haim Steinbach is interested in the shared social rituals of collecting, arranging and presenting objects. For Steinbach, objects have a function similar to language. People have feelings about objects, project emotions onto them and also communicate through these “things”. In his ‘display’ works, the artist uses the shelf as a device to highlight otherwise ordinary objects, allowing the viewer to consider aesthetic, cultural and social associations without prejudice or presumption. In “Untitled (Halco and Tour d’Argent salt and pepper shakers)”, Steinbach presents two pairs of functional salt and pepper shakers (one the inexpensive kind as made by Halco and the other, more “elegant”, manufactured by Tour d’Argent in silver). These two pairs are exhibited on a polished, mirrored stainless steel shelf. The shakers objects come from vastly different social and cultural contexts and are put together in a way that is analogous to the arrangement of words in a poem, or to the musical notes in a score.
Steinbach has said that his work is “about vernacular, which is a common form of language: things that we make, express and produce” and that it is “not only about selecting and arranging objects of my own choice, but also presenting the objects chosen by others”. He often refers to the structures he builds for the objects he presents as “framing devices”. Steinbach sets up comparisons within his work between ‘high’ versus ‘low’ culture, the unique versus the multiple, the personal versus the universal.