Serpentine Galleries presents Haim Steinbach: once again the world is flat, at the Serpentine Gallery this spring. This expansive exhibition by American artist Haim Steinbach includes key works from throughout his impressive forty year career during which he has re-defined the status of the object in art by focusing on the selection and arrangement of found and made objects. once again the world is flat. comprises major new works for the Serpentine Gallery alongside a series of reconfigured historical installations and a number of Steinbach’s grid-based paintings from the early 1970s.
Up until the mid-1970s, Steinbach explored Minimalism’s limitations through painting calculated placements of coloured bars around monochrome squares. He then abandoned painting to create work using the material linoleum, made to resemble a diverse range of historical floor designs. By the late 1970s, Steinbach had begun to investigate spatial questions of visual structure, honing in on the daily rituals of collecting and arranging objects.
Haim Steinbach’s interest in the fundamental human practice of collecting is explored through his placing of objects from a variety of contexts on shelving units, which range from handmade constructions to modular building systems. For this exhibition Steinbach has also invited the public to participate by presenting their salt and pepper shakers at the Serpentine. Each with their own history and story, the salt and pepper shakers carry meaning from a former context and, through their display, the connection between the private and the public sphere is made.
The Serpentine has also invited curators from a range of private and public institutions – including the Zabludowicz Collection and the Museum of Childhood in London and Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery – to select works from their collections to be incorporated in the exhibition. Through juxtaposing paintings, sculpture, artefacts and children’s playthings, Steinbach uncovers alternative meanings inherent in the objects, while subverting traditional notions of display and hierarchy.
A ground-breaking presentation of design, curated by influential London-based Italian designer Martino Gamper, runs concurrently at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Furthering the Serpentine’s commitment to contemporary design – following Konstantin Grcic’s Design Real in 2009– both exhibitions highlight objects that have made a significant impact on our lives and offer new perspectives on material culture.
Once again the world is flat. is programmed in collaboration with New York’s CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art and the Kunsthalle Zürich. Following the Serpentine presentation the exhibition will travel to Zürich, where it will be transfigured once again.