Bruce Conner, SOUND OF ONE HAND ANGEL, 1974
Poet Joanne Kyger writes an eloquent post for SFMOMA’s Open Space blog about Bruce Conner.
I am always amazed and moved by an experience Bruce Conner had when he was eleven years old and living in Wichita, Kansas. Writing about it in 1983 he says he was lying on the floor in his room looking at the late afternoon sun when he went into a state of consciousness that changed him: “I changed physically. I changed conceptually, and it took hundreds of years. I changed and grew old, through all kinds of experiences, in worlds of totally different dimensions… . Here I am in a room, and I’m enormously old. How can I ever get up? I’m practically disintegrated. I’m an ancient person … I can’t move. And then I slowly became aware of the rug. I look at my hands and they’re not old. I knew I was an old ancient person, but I didn’t look that way… . I wanted to talk to someone about it. I couldn’t. There weren’t words to describe the experience … it was like a dream… . There were so many things that were unknown secrets, that adult society knew, that they didn’t let children know about. I thought this was one of them.”
Bruce Conner keeps a very old spirit awake, alive. “Spirit” coming from the Latin “spiritus” means breath. A breath of an alive response, which one finds in all his varied body of work — painting, sculpture, collage, printmaking, drawing, film, and photography.
Conner’s work is included in the exhibition Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art, a co-production by SFMOMA and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The exhibition is on view through October 27.