Robert Heinecken: Recto/Verso

Nazraeli Press

Rod Slemmons, Chicago, 2007

Beginning in the late 1960s and continuing to the late 1990s, Robert Heinecken produced a series of projects that involved manipulating and recombining media imagery in order to understand how this imagery, chiefly photographic, works on and through our imaginations. A short list of thinkers, writers and artists in his frame of reference would be Marshall McCluhan, Marcel Duchamp, Andre Breton, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg, Wallace Berman. From the mid-60s he worked solidly within a practice we now identify as post-modernist: appropriation, deconstruction, relinquishment of authorial control, subverting traditional art exhibition and distribution practices, etc. Except that he was to a large degree inventing this practice before it was named. One of the elements of this practice-that most of what we now perceive is simulated in highly sophisticated ways-sits strangely on the shoulders of a former Marine jet fighter pilot, whose life depending on his perception of real things.

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