“Bruce Conner: OUT OF BODY” at Bellas Artes Outpost; Artinformal opens its new branch at The Alley at Karrivin Plaza; the highly anticipated Art in the Park; Manila FAME; and more.
Notoriously wary of attention from media and art world personalities, the American multidisciplinary artist Bruce Conner (1933-2008) must be turning in his grave in the wake of a monumental exhibition, “Bruce Conner: It’s All True”—the first complete retrospective that surveys Conner’s prodigious output.
After its premiere at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 2016, the exhibition traveled to San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, revealing to this generation why Conner is widely regarded as one of the post-war era’s most influential artists.
Two hundred pieces are on show including paintings, drawings, collages, photograms, and photos alongside his films.
Our part of the world gets a glimpse of Conner’s genius with Bellas Artes Projects’ staging of the artist’s first major exhibition in Southeast Asia. The show, “Conner: Out of Body,” had a two-part opening: At Bellas Artes Outpost in Makati in February and at Bellas Artes Projects’ campus in Bagac, Bataan, in March.
At Bellas Artes Outpost in Makati, a sampling of the artist’s range includes two films: BREAKAWAY, the artist’s masterpiece from 1966 that features singer Toni Basil, considered by some as a progenitor of pop music videos, and EASTER
MORNING, Conner’s last video work before his death. Visitors to the show will also get to see the artist’s
MANDALA lithographs, a few of his ANGEL photograms and INKBLOT drawings along with felt-tip pen drawings, as well as some of the FALLEN LEAVES scroll collages.
Viewers can experience the full force of the artist’s 36-minute film,
CROSSROADS, by trekking to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan. Inside the grand volumes of an unfinished marble church, Conner’s film—created from archival footage of the nuclear tests conducted at the Bikini Atoll in 1946—is projected against a wall.
According to Bellas Artes Projects’ artistic director, Diana Campbell Betancourt, “The whole idea for this show began with Bataan—given the iconic nature of CROSSROADS and the talk about reviving the nuclear power plant in the province, as well as recent nuclear threats from North Korea which made this work especially timely to show in Bataan, given its World War II history.”
“CROSSROADS needs to be shown large-scale,” Betancourt (who also curated the show) further explains. “The church has a very high ceiling. Also, you can’t tell if the building is coming down or being built up; that ambiguity of space and time adds to the impact of Conner’s film.”
Bellas Artes Projects founder Jam Acuzar was immediately drawn to Conner’s film. “I fantasized about showing this work inside the church since I first saw it in 2015,” Acuzar says.
“CROSSROADS resonated so strongly to me as it reminded me of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and the incredible cloud formations in Bagac. Although he has already passed away, his work is so timeless and has many strong connections with current issues in politics, media, and society.” Ongoing until June 3 at Bellas Artes Outpost in Makati and Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan. bellasartesprojects.org. DEVI DE VEyrA
AcroSS thE unIVErSE clockwise from left: Bruce conner, trIXIE AnXIouSLy AwAItS crIME, January 20, 1978; EAStEr MornInG, Suzanne Mowat; a frame from croSSroADS; EAStEr MornInG, Leaves; a frame from BrEAKAwAy, featuring toni Basil.