Haim Steinbach: Infinity / Non
Artwork by Haim Steinbach.
Haim Steinbach's work with language proposes that reading is an act of seeing; the graphic codes which proliferate in our current media culture accustom us to the fact of word and image arriving in one package. For Steinbach, reproducing a phrase or a symbol represents the action of memorization and preservation, thereby inviting viewers to identify and re-identify with the language and image before them. Thus, for this latest addition to the Illy Collection series of espresso cups, Steinbach inscribes the letters n, o and n--or the word non--together with the figure 8--or infinity--as signs of an abstract language. Since 1992, famed Italian coffeemaker Illy has been commissioning limited-edition coffee cup designs from internationally renowned and emerging artists, musicians, and filmmakers. The story of the cup begins in 1990 with architect and engineer Matteo Thun, who designed a white espresso cup to the exacting specifications of the Illy family. The volume and diameter had to be just so, the rim had to accept resting lips in a most practical manner and the all-important bowl at the bottom of the cup had to conserve heat effectively. Once the prototype was approved, the family set about having it transformed with original work by the likes of Sandro Chia, Nam June Paik, James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg, David Byrne, Francis Ford Coppola, Joseph Kosuth, Jeff Koons, Marina Abramovic, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Michel Comte, Jannis Kounellis and Louise Bourgeois.