What to See at Art Fair PH Physical Exhibits

ART FAIR Philippines opens its 10and iteration and its first hybrid edition today. It will run both online and on-site until April 1.

From its first year in 2013 until its last on-site exhibition in 2020, the art fair was held in a parking lot at Ayala Center in Makati. With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown, the fair has gone live. This year’s hybrid format will see art galleries exhibit both physically in their own spaces and online on the art fair’s website. Online exhibitions and other activities will be accessible on www.artfairphilippines.com.

There are also physical exhibits at the three entrances to the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati – at Ayala Ave., Makati Ave. and Paseo De Roxas.

“When we first started brainstorming ideas for the show, the Philippines was at the height of the wave of Delta variants [of COVID-19, in June to July 2021]said Art Fair Philippines Trickie Lopa in an email to Business world.

“We knew our chance to do physical live exhibits hinged on an open venue that was largely outdoors and spacious, but still accessible. I think we have found the perfect place,” she added.

No limitations were placed on the use of the space as long as they adhered to safety protocols and followed building guidelines.

THE ART FAIR/PROJECTS
The highlight of the physical exhibition at the fair is the ArtFairPH/Projects section.

Art consultant Norman Crisologo and exhibition designer and director Ed Lacson are collaborating for the second time with what the former calls a “Split Gallery” in the Ayala Tower One Fountain area. The space has been transformed into an outdoor gallery with lemon-colored scaffolding and brightly colored panels.

“You want to see behind the scenes. You don’t want to see solid walls. The panels dialogue depending on where you are, the combination of colors changes,” said Mr. Lacson, co-designer of the installation. Business world at the opening on March 21.

“I’ve always designed for economic reasons,” Lacson said, referring to what was “simplest, cheapest and most impactful at the same time.”

“It should look like a construction site but more beautiful where the works are on display,” he said.

The exhibition area is also equipped with lighting to allow for evening viewing. “Wait until it gets dark. It looks different when it’s dark outside,” Lacson said.

For this year’s art fair, paintings by one of the fair’s star artists, Ryan Jara, focus on pandemic-related experiences, with themes revolving around battles – for the land, within us themselves (anxiety and depression) and hunger.

“These are ongoing issues, but because of the pandemic, it has gotten worse,” Mr Jara wrote to Business world in a mixture of English and Filipino. “I was affected and so I thought of expressing it in painting as my way of telling stories about the pandemic.”

Mr. Jara’s characteristic use of magnified and distorted images began from a puzzle of a human he was completing which was redesigned. “This is where my ideas about distortion started and why my works are as they are today. It’s like a Picasso but with a realistic approach,” he said.

Meanwhile, another of the fair’s featured artists, Melvin Guirhem (the 2022 recipient of the Karen H. Montinola Selection) has a series of works titled Entablature which presents life as a stage where everyone embodies characters who have a role in society.

He uses hand-stitched quilts for his figures and paintings for his background. “After laying out the concept [for the artwork], I create a material numbering scheme based on the color and type of fabric to be used. I cut the patchwork, then I glue it with white glue, then I sew it manually afterwards,” Mr. Guirhem said in English and Filipino.

Other artists featured in the ArtFairPH/Projects section are the late Arô Soriano, social realist Nune Alvarado, Bjorn Calleja, Johanna Helmuth, Doktor Karayom, Tyang Karyel, Aze Ong and Wyndelle Remonde.

“Although the works are not overtly political, artists in the Projects section like Dokto Karayom, Tyang Karel and Ryan Jara are not shy about confronting the issues of what it is like to live in the Philippines today, with its dense cities and depressed economic situation provide opportunities,” said fair organizer Ms. Lopa. Business world.

OTHER PHYSICAL EXPOSURES
In addition to the ArtFairPH/Projects section, works by artists selected for #ArtFairPH/Residencies: Derek Tumala for Manila Observatory, Hannah Nantes for Linangan Art Residence, Jao San Pedro for Emerging Islands, Alwin Reamillo for Orange Project and Faye Abantao for Quartier Butanding.

On the garden path along Paseo De Roxas is the ArtFairPH/Photo exhibit. Organized by Neal Oshima, Michael Salientes, Mark Nicdao and Gio Panlilio, the photography exhibition is titled Tattoos, Ternos and Couture, a celebration of Filipino fashion photography.

Meanwhile, appearing on screen in a public amphitheater is the work of New York-based new media artist Jeremy Couillard for The ArtFairPH/Film section. The showcase includes his new film There’s no up or down, only attraction (2022) which explores curious creatures across galactic spaces, pixelated game maps and streetscapes. At Mr. Couillard’s Spiral Fuzz Series — a collection of three films based on the artist’s recent video game Dungeon Fuzz (2021) – will also be presented.

For the first time this year, visitors can explore an interactive augmented reality (AR) art trail in the Ayala Triangle Gardens using the Daata AR app. The AR Art Trail presents Leeroy New’s piece Aparision (Appearance) combining Mr. New’s sculptures from discarded plastic bottles and visualized elements from author Eliza Victoria’s fantasy short story, let me hold your hand. A QR code to download the data app, posted on the AR Art Trail. The application is accessible to iPhone users.

Visiting hours for the Ayala Triangle exhibits are divided into three batches from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. For tickets to physical exhibits, visit https://tickets.artfairphilippines.com/. Tickets are priced at P150. For more information on this year’s program and schedule of activities, visit the Art Fair Philippines website at www.artfairphilippines.com and follow Art Fair Philippines on Instagram (@artfairph) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/artfairph). — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

Julia P. Cluff