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PERFORMANCE ART REVIEW : Alan Pulner in 'Fataphysical Revue' at LACE

October 01, 1988|LEWIS SEGAL


Alan Pulner is a locally based performance artist whose pieces are nearly overloaded with ideas, humor, energy, high ambition. In "Sonny Boy," presented Thursday at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions on the opening program of a three-night series of split bills called "Fataphysical Revue," Pulner tackled with off-the-wall acuity one of the towering themes of human culture: our yearning for the infinite.

Beginning with a brainy, pointed discourse (in an outrageous Chico Marx accent) on scientific heresies of infinity, this one-act solo performance retraced Pulner's rebellion against the constraints of being stuck in time as a specific male-child in a particular family--his obsessive need for something more.

Between comic vignettes sketching possible alternate identities (black, female, macho, wimpy, just plaindifferent ), Pulner launched into passionate invocations of physics theory to project himself beyond the corporeal toward other states of being.

At first, Pulner's link between son and sun had seemed merely glib wordplay. But, ultimately, in the work's most daring and accomplished passage, he drew all of his ideas together in a vision of traveling at the speed of light back through time and then--like a sunbeam or a breeze or a benign god--intimately caressing the bodies of his mother and father at the moment of his own conception.

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