HEINECKEN, Robert. Are You Rea.

(Los Angeles, CA): Self published, 1968. First edition. Folio. Portfolio of twenty-five lithographic prints and two texual sheets. The artist’s breakthrough work, twenty-five images, grainy, ghostly, tonally reversed photograms taken from the pages of popular magazines. The lithographs were made from the original gelatin silver print photographs taken the same year. Featuring dense layers of text and images of women, the Are You Rea lithographs are an example of Heinecken’s experiments with replication of photographs made using the contact printing technique with which he experimented throughout his career. He would place a page from a magazine directly on top of photographic paper and then shine a light through the page to expose the images on both its recto and verso directly onto the photographic paper. In this case, the use of silver gelatin photographic paper results in black and white images, unexpected juxtapositions of advertising and feature photography that finally results in a provocative body of work, sexually charged and evocatively ambiguous, that reflects an awareness of desire as a commercial commodity and begs us to question the very root of our own desires. An important work that anticipated the work of image appropriates Martha Rosler, Richard Prince, Silvia Kolbowski, and others. Heinecken’s introductory text leaves no doubt as to why he is today considered one of the most prescient forerunners of appropriation. Disclosing his debt to Surrealist theory, he professes his interest in “the multiplicity of meanings inherent in aleatory ideas and images” and declares that “these pictures do not represent first hand experiences but are related to the perhaps more socially important manufactured experiences which are being created daily by the mass media.” Images measuring approx. 32cm by 25cm are in very good condition housed in plain card portfolio that is in good condition, worn along edges. Published in an edition of 500 numbered copies signed by the artist.


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