Art Fair Philippines was open from March 1 to March 4, 2018. This years location was at the Ayala Center Makati. This fair aimed to highlight the new multidisciplinary works of emerging artists coming out of Southeast Asia and from abroad at present. In total there are fifty one galleries participating in this years Art Fair including representation of countries such as: Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia among others. Additionally, it was a platform to celebrate established artists in the region, and opportunity to share the work and its ideology with a receptive audience in the Philippines. This year the fair was heralded for not only displaying work that would be result in sale outcomes, but also showcasing work that challenges the viewer intellectually.
The format of presentations this year was diverse in topic and realization. There were guided talks, which took groups around the space to highlight key exhibitors and events in the space that day. Additionally, there were a series of Art Fair Philippines commissioned individual talks and panel discussions from curators, artists, and additionally organized screenings, all of which took place in the Art Tent during the Art Fairs operating hours. This provided the audience with a lot of experiential options regarding how and what they wanted to see and when. Nine artists this year were highlighted under the category of ArtFairPH/ Projects. Additionally, gallery booths were installed showcasing their most exciting artists.
Nilo Ilarde’s installation “THE Art Fair is full of objects, more or less interesting; I wish to add 24,124 more” (2018) was commissioned for this year’s Art Fair Philippines. The ambitious work consisted of a stunning 24,124 miniature cars which were fabricated through a die-cast process. The entire space is covered in this bright, tiny bits. These miniature cars may be remembered as matchbox cars, toys common to children growing up in the 1980’s-1990’s. The undeniable element of play that Ilarde is conjuring up in the thoughts of the viewers is to directly comment on the atmosphere of the art fair. He believes that it is a space where there is great abundance of ideas, work, but it is also a space where it is possible for the element of play to take form.
One Projects commissioned work was that Leonard Aguinaldo’s “Side Effect” (2017). The work conceptually has long dealt with themes of beliefs and rituals of many Filipinos through utilization of indigenous cultural narratives and visual cues. In this project, Gods are the entities that rule over the outcomes of the rest. Working with myths, belief, symbolism of dreams and numbers, the pieces describe a fascination with the intangible, and most poignantly, address aspects of hope. Without these beliefs, no matter how minute, the alternative to believing in nothing would feel too unbearable for most. These beliefs have manifested into ideologies and shaped cultures; these have become essential for persons beyond the Philippines and hold great importance on a global scale. In this work, there is the complex component in which Leondardo da Vinci’s painting, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions, of god is on display. Through the depiction of this classical take on god, Aguinaldo aims to point out the dualities that are inherent in the arts at large.
In another Project commission, Layra Garcellano’s “Tropical Loop” (2018) uses language as the visual inspiration of her works as it relates to power, identity on a national level and the concept of value specifically in relation to artwork parameters or sometimes arbitrarily demarcated standard. The work is an installation that is text based, to interrogate the systems that are and to explicitly highlight the reality of the construct of language itself in that it is a series of compositional elements, that can be understood to follow a game like structure when they are activated.
Another work, from the ‘Sponsored Project’ categorization this year is Plet Bolipata’s “IMPROMPTU (LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD IN CENTRAL PARK TABLEAU)” (2017) articulates a fantastical narrative of life in explicit detail. This project was sponsored by Globe Platinum. The project incorporates film narratives depicting an imagined playground landscape, and issues around female body’s coming of age, navigation of sexual predators and other related topics. In the Photography programming this year, the Julius Baer contributed several works. Among which included: Florian Graf’s “Pond and floe” (2015) as well as Adrien Missika’s “Solid Colors” realiezd in 1981, and printed as a C-Print in 2013. Both works demonstrate a deep, poetic connection to nature. Through the photographic medium, this aims to be shared with the audiences, so they too can share the relationship that these artists have. This is a conversation on awe, and attention to the relationship shared between the body and immediate spaces.
For more information, including a full list of participating galleries, programming, accessibility, and reflections on this years series of events, please visit: https://artfairphilippines.com/
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