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Haim Steinbach



15 January – 25 February 1996

Haim Steinbach was born in Israel in 1944, and currently lives and works in the United States. Although he has exhibited extensively in the U.S. and Europe over the past 15 years, his work is less well-known in Canada. His exhibition at the AGYU marks his premiere exhibition in this country. It then travels to the Winnipeg Art Gallery where it will open on March 10, 1996.

Steinbach's site-specific installation for the Art Gallery of York University recalls several of his other large-scale architectural interventions in which he "curates", or collects and presents, a grouping of objects for location within his own presentational format, and asks the visitor to actively move through this created environment. Black Forest Wall, 1992, produced for documenta IX, and Eadweard Muybridge, Michael Snow, Haim Steinbach, 1995, at Jay Gorney Modern Art, New York, were two such precursors to his AGYU exhibition. Here in Toronto, Steinbach presents objects from the Royal Ontario Museum's Department of Mammalogy along with a selection of images from Human and Animal Locomotion by the 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge, on loan from the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation. By walking up a specially constructed wooden ramp, the visitor may view the animal pelts through a series of small windows, and explore the intended juxtaposition with the Muybridge photographs.

[Steinbach's work is] a project which persuasively suggests that the meanings and conditions of meanings for objects are seriously implicated in the question of identity politics which so concerns more obviously representational artists of the political today. Which is to say that it is not merely the contextualization of objects la Duchamp which is at play on Steinbach's shelves or in his boxes or his architectural interventions, but, as well, actual choices of specific objects and actual juxtapositions take on material meaning as a necessary part of a reflection on the nature of identity and its movements. By their things so shall we know them. As analogues. As partial reconstructions of the self.

This exhibition will be re-installed at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, March 10 through June 10, 1996. A catalogue with essay by Bruce Ferguson was co-published by the AGYU and the WAG.

We gratefully acknowledge The Canada Council for their support. Special thanks are also extended to Max Dean and Mike Wodkowski for their assistance with all aspects of the installation. Additional thanks to Lou Odette and Larry Heisey for their generous contributions.
Bruce Ferguson (from the exhibition catalogue)
Art Gallery of York University | Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street | Toronto ON M3J 1P3 | agyu [at] yorku.ca