Artwork

Haim Steinbach
Untitled (dust pans, door mats) #A4, 1990

Haim Steinbach, who exhibited twice at Kassel’s documenta, juxtaposes a whole variety of objects by arranging them on specially made shelves, thus putting them on display. His process here is not very different from the general habit of placing cups, teddy bears and other knick-knacks on pieces of furniture. But the work Untitled (dustpans, door mats) #4A, 1990, shows us precisely how object values change when their functional use is transformed into a cultural one and thus directs our attention towards the fact, that the object qualities reference a certain lifestyle. In the present case, the surface material covering the shelf represents a milieu of an aseptic, germ-free cleanliness. But the stylized dustpans and floor mats create associations to the contrary: dust, dirt, germs. The New York artist draws a precarious image of the surface fixation of American society and the corresponding contradicting moral ideals.

 

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