MUSEUM STUDIES:

THE ARTWORK OF RICHARD HEIPP

 

CULTURAL STRABISMUS (1996-2000)

According to Heipp, the Cultural Strabismus (1996-2000) series is related to a reflection on how “mass reproduced images are everywhere. We are inundated with an ever-increasing glut of images from media. The specific meaning of an image is frequently lost, and often subverted, in the pollution of pictorial media. The reading of images is highly influenced by the commodification of our culture infused by various belief systems. Often times the ability to genuinely ‘see’ or ‘read’ images beyond the superficial glance is lost.”


Heipp was born with the visual condition known as strabismus, which is also known as lazy eye disorder. This condition causes the eyes to be oriented in different directions which also causes the brain to receive two different and separate images thus, resulting in double vision.  When not properly treated, the brain eventually learns to ignore the image from the misaligned eye. When the eye and brain are not functioning in tandem, one may have difficulty perceiving full three-dimensional images. Heipp also has dyslexia, which effects visual processing and the perception of words and numbers.  These conditions led him to create new metaphors. The metaphors “represent cultural maladies where the eye sees but the brain chooses not to recognize that image resulting in cultural blindness of seeing injustice but choosing to ignore it or being presented with scientific facts that are overruled by beliefs rooted in religious faith.” As Heipp explains, “at times seeing requires believing in the abstract – believing in things we cannot see, but we know are true.”