Bruce Conner’s “Out of Body”
              Claudia Arozqueta
              Bruce Conner’s solo exhibition, “Out of Body,” takes its title from a life-changing experience the artist had when he was eleven years old. Mesmerized by a patch of sunlight on the floor of his bedroom, he was overcome by the sensation of being “an old ancient person” within his infant body, existing “in worlds of totally different dimensions.” This ineffable experience was the genesis of Conner’s lifelong fascination with the mystical idea that the self and the universe were interconnected, and that the former was a microcosm of the latter. From the 1950s until his death in 2008, he worked in virtually every available medium—painting, assemblage, moving image, drawing, performance—and his polymathic approach reflected a wide-ranging interest in syncretism. He mingled spiritual beliefs in a bid to reach higher levels of consciousness, and as a way to explore countercultural alternatives to the spiritual impoverishment that he identified, and vehemently despaired of, in mainstream, consumerist American society. “Out of Body,” Conner’s first major exhibition in Southeast Asia, comprises 20 works that, by reflecting on consumerism, nuclear disasters, and spirituality, resonate with the Philippines’ past and present. Entering the gallery, viewers first encounter the ink drawing CROSS (1963). Drawn after a sojourn in …

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