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Art Fair 2022 blends the physical and the virtual

Ongoing this week are exhibits, events at Ayala Triangle Gardens, gallery hop, virtual tours, talks

Bugtong-bugtong by Aro Soriano

AR Art Trail Aparisyon

Jeremy Couillard, Fuzz Spiral (Photo courtesy of the artist and Daata)

This year’s Art Fair Philippines, set from March 23 to April 1, is a hybrid event of physical exhibitions at Ayala Triangle Gardens and gallery venues, and online exhibitions and other activities, accessible at www.artfairphilippines.com.

Homepage of Art Fair Philippines 2022

A total of 46 exhibitors from the Philippines and abroad are presenting artworks in their respective physical locales and through online viewing rooms at the fair’s website.

“The hybrid platform is the big difference in this year’s art fair in that it represents a transition in the way we’re presenting the art, now with both a physical and online presence,” Lisa O. Periquet told TheDiarist.ph. Periquet, with art lovers and movers Trickie Lopa and Dindin Araneta, founded Art Fair Philippines nine years ago.   “I believe this is the way forward for art fairs and galleries to adapt to the changes in our post-pandemic world. And even when we are back in the physical space we used to occupy, The Link, the online content and presence will be much wider than before.”

The galleries have set up exhibits in their venues. “This year, unlike 2021, our participating galleries will have their exhibitions in their own locations, starting the weekend of March 19-20.  One can check out the gallery shows online and then easily make an appointment through the website links to visit their space.”

This year’s Philippine exhibitors include 1335Mabini, Altro Mondo Gallery, Art Cube Gallery, Art Elaan, Art For Space, Art Underground, Art Verite Gallery, Artery Art Space, Avellana Art Gallery, Boston Art Gallery, CANVAS, District Gallery, Eskinita Gallery, Galerie Roberto, Galerie Stephanie, Grounded Holistic Arts and Culture Studio, J Studio, Kaida Contemporary, León Gallery, Luzviminda, Modeka, MONO8 Gallery, Paseo Art Gallery, Pinaglabanan X, Qube Gallery, Salcedo Private View, Secret Fresh, Silverlens, Strange Fruit, The Crucible Gallery, Tin-aw, The Metro Gallery, White Walls Gallery, and Ysobel Art Gallery.

Six international galleries are presenting exhibits: Art Agenda (Singapore/Jakarta), Gajah Gallery (Singapore/Yogyakarta), Mayoral (Paris/Barcelona), Yavuz Gallery (Singapore/Sydney), Gallery Kogure (Tokyo), and YOD Gallery (Osaka), and two NFT galleries, A/terhen and Cyber Baat.

‘We will also debut an Augmented Reality Trail in the gardens area’

Curator Norman Crisologo (Photo by Drea Estrellado)

Exhibition designer Ed Lacson, Jr.

Periquet explained the physical Art Fair: “Another difference is that our physical presentation will not be in The Link yet, but will be in semi-outdoor spaces: The Projects—10 artists chosen by our curator Norman Crisologo—will be in the Ayala Tower One fountain area. The space has been stunningly designed with our typical edgy and urban aesthetic by Ed Lacson, Jr. a theater director and set designer. Nearby, a major photography exhibition (20 artists!) will be installed in the walkway  from the Ayala Triangle Gardens to Paseo de Roxas. We will also debut an Augmented Reality (AR) Trail in the gardens area—look out for the signposts and train your devices on the QR Codes to see the AR artwork!  A Film program will be presented in the amphitheater area of the new Tower Two building at the end of the Gardens.  A small exhibition and video presentation on the Artists Residency program that we started last year will be onsite, as well.”

The Fair’s Gallery Hop section makes it easier for guests to plot out routes to the gallery shows.  Exhibitors are organized based on locations to enable art lovers to optimize their schedules during the fair.

Nune Alvarado (Photo by Candy Nagrampa)

Bjorn Calleja (Photo by Jojo Gloria)

Johanna Helmuth

Ryan Jara (Photo by Jojo Gloria)

There is a special exhibition of works by the late Arô Soriano and noted social realist Nune Alvarado. This section also features new commissioned works by internationally established and rising Filipino visual artists such as Bjorn Calleja, Johanna Helmuth, Ryan Jara, Doktor Karayom, Tyang Karyel, Aze Ong, and Wyndelle Remonde. Also in this section is Melvin Guirhem, the 2022 recipient of the Karen H. Montinola Selection, a private grant created in honor of the late art patron Karen Montinola.

Doktor Karayom (Photo by Jojo Gloria)

Tyang Karyel (Photo by Jojo Gloria)

Aze Ong (Photo by Jojo Gloria)

Melvin Guirhem

A special project introduces the Filipino audience to the inflatable sculpture of Russian artist Sasha Frolova.

ArtFairPH/Projects is presented by the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

Also part of the physical exhibit is the fair’s ArtFairPH/Photo section. Curated by Neal Oshima, Michael Salientes, Mark Nicdao, and Gio Panlilio, its exhibit  is titled Tattoos, Ternos and Couture: A Celebration of Philippine Fashion Photography.

Periquet explained: “Art Fair Philippines established a separate section focused on photography some years ago, which helped bring it into the fold of local contemporary art. So photography as a focus has always been an important part of the art fair, and there are so many aspects of it to explore. Many of the well-known photographers we know got their feet wet and earned their reputations in the commercial fashion industry, and continue to do so today.  The body of Philippine fashion photography hasn’t really been viewed in its totality, so this is an initial attempt. Who knows, it may lead to a book later on! The photographs will be installed in a unique location, along a covered walkway in the gardens.  It’s curated by Neal Oshima, Marc Nicdao and stylist Michael Salientes.  They’re working with maybe 20 or more photographers for this.”

The fair has always sought to provide a platform for art practices beyond the urban art centers.  This year, several art groups from the three main island clusters of the Philippines are in the fair’s Regional Focus. These exhibitors are: Ibagiw Art Fest x Gallery 2600 (Luzon), VIVA ExCon Dasun Bacolod x Orange Project (Visayas),  Langgikit x Museo De Oro x Art Portal Gallery (Mindanao), and Lawig-diwa x Gallery Down South (Mindanao).

‘We have regional representation from Baguio, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and Davao’ 

Periquet explained: “There has always been the observation that the Philippine art scene is Manila-centered. This is, of course, true, because Manila is the most developed city center we have in terms of financial, commercial, and educational opportunities, all crucial to the world of art, so naturally it’s a magnet.  But there have always been vibrant regional centers for art; among the well-known ones are Baguio and Bacolod. There is so much growing awareness and interest in the arts in these places, that they are able to run their own large art events and establish galleries and art districts. Including them in Art Fair Philippines is one way of bringing their homegrown artists to a wider, different audience, and conversely, expose our audience to their work and aesthetic. We have regional representation from Baguio, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and Davao.  Our Talks program with artist and curator panels from these places will shed light on their art scenes for sure.

“I would say that some aesthetic qualities are unique to certain geographical areas. For example in the south, if you view their artist videos in our website, you will see how important natural elements and vibrant colors are to their work. And there are some distinctly Muslim forms and shapes you will definitely note in the works.  In Baguio, the aesthetic is subtler, more of a quality—a free-spirited and experimental vibe that is present in their art-making.”

The film section of Art Fair Philippines is also set up at Ayala Triangle Gardens. This year, the ArtFairPH/Film section presents works by New York-based new media artist Jeremy Couillard, including his new film, There is No Up or Down, Only Attraction (2022), which explores curious creatures across galactic vistas, pixelated gaming maps, and streetscapes. Art Fair Philippines also presents films from Couillard’s Fuzz Spiral series—a collection of three films based on the artist’s recent video game Fuzz Dungeon (2021). As Couillard’s works appear on the digital screens of Makati’s Ayala Triangle Gardens, viewers are transported to fantastic worlds and new dimensions of color and light.

ArtFairPH/Film is co-presented by Globe Platinum. The OLED screens at the Film section are sponsored by LG Electronics.

Jeremy Couillard

Jeremy Couillard, Voluntary Associations (Photo courtesy of the artist and Daata)

Jeremy Couillard, Inventor Of The Letter G (Photo courtesy the artist and Daata)

Jeremy Couillard, There Is No Up Or Down (Photo courtesy the artist and Daata)

The fair also exhibits works by the chosen artists for #ArtFairPH/Residencies: Derek Tumala for Manila Observatory, Hannah Nantes for Linangan Art Residency, Jao San Pedro for Emerging Islands, Alwin Reamillo for Orange Project, and Faye Abantao for Butanding Barrio.

Launched in 2021 in partnership with Bleeding Heart Rum Corporation, makers of Don Papa Rum, ArtFairPH/Residencies is open to all Filipino artists across disciplines. The application period for 2022 is from March 23 to April 23 and the chosen artists will be announced by May 20, 2022.

For this year’s edition, Art Fair Philippines is inviting its guests to follow an interactive augmented reality (AR) art trail at the Ayala Triangle Gardens using the Daata AR app.

Named after Leeroy New’s artwork Aparisyon (Apparition), this AR Art Trail examines the timeless nature of storytelling through words and imagery, inspired by the Philippines’ thriving speculative fiction.

Curated by Daata, this digital-meets-physical show offers an opportunity to discover ground-breaking artists and newly commissioned artworks by artist Leeroy New and author Eliza Victoria.

Aparisyon brings to life sculptures that the artist created from discarded plastic bottles during the pandemic. The works take the shape of an extinct animalistic creature from another universe—albeit one facing a climate emergency much like our own. In addition to giving the work’s translucent and ethereal quality, the recycled plastic waste is a metaphor for storytelling, through words and images. Leeroy New takes the audience on a journey to his imagination where alternative futures, possible only by avoiding a climate disaster, are brought to life.

Eliza Victoria’s story titled Let Me Hold Your Hand draws from the tropes of portal fantasy and local folk narratives of people losing themselves in enchanted realms. Addressed to an unnamed friend, Let me hold your hand is a meditation on language, illness, betrayal, and forgiveness, narrated by a woman who escapes an enchanted realm and deals with the lingering trauma of her experience. Unlike New’s work, this story does not dwell on this magical other place, but instead examines what happens after the characters return to the real world.

With the older commissions, New’s artwork and Victoria’s story weave a tale that takes audiences on a journey through time and space, questioning the solidity of our relationship with reality and imagination in the face of climate emergency.

Daata’s presentation also includes artworks premiering in Asia by artists Jeremy Couillard, Eva Papamargariti, Elliot Dodd, Tuomas Laitinen, Keiken, Aaajiao and Florian Meisenberg. Daata is a digital platform that commissions original digital artworks by established and emerging artists, allowing viewers to stream or download high-quality digital artworks on any device.

Diana Lynn Vandermeulen, Don’t Hate The Player (Photo courtesy of the artist and Daata)

#ArtFairPH Metaverse with virtual exhibits, Talks, Open Studios, and Online Tours

The exhibits by this year’s participants will be viewable at www.artfairphilippines.com. Art Fair Philippines guests can also join the Gallery Walkthrough, scheduled on March 23 and March 24, for virtual tours of the exhibitors.

In keeping with the fair’s thrust to widen the audience for the visual arts and to continue to expand the appreciation of fair visitors for contemporary art, ArtFairPH/Talks features daily discussions presented in partnership with the Ateneo Art Gallery, Museum Foundation of the Philippines, and the Embassy of Spain. The talks will be accessible at www.artfairphilippines.com.

This year’s ArtFairPH/Talks will include a series of virtual discussions with Paco Barragán, an independent curator and arts writer based in Madrid, about art collecting and advice for artists. There will also be a panel discussion about NFTs, which was the main focus of last year’s edition of Art Fair Philippines. Guests can also look forward to an interesting discussion on the special photo exhibit Tattoos, Ternos and Couture: A Celebration of Philippine Fashion Photography with curators Neal Oshima, Michael Salientes, Mark Nicdao, and Gio Panlilio. (For the full list of ArtFairPH/Talks schedule, please visit www.artfairphilippines.com or follow Art Fair Philippines on social media.)

Art Fair Philippines 2022 also continues to develop ArtFairPH/Open Studios. For this edition, Art Fair Philippines has collaborated with J Studio and ceramicist Pablo Capati to showcase a three-part series of pottery demos entitled Conversations on Clay with Jezzel Wee, Marco Rosario, Ella Mendoza, Krista Nogueras, Jon Pettyjohn and Joey de Castro.

The fair will also continue to present virtual art tours. In the pipeline for ArtFairPH/Tours is Baguio Artists Studio Visits: Part 2, a continuation of last year’s video documentation of visits to artists’ studios by Nona Garcia, Abbie Lara and Kawayan de Guia.

Visual artists Plet Bolipata and Elmer Borlongan will take fair visitors on a virtual tour of their new studio in what they call the Bolipata and Borlongan Talyer Video Tour.

10 Days of Art

Also complementing the fair is the 10 Days of Art initiative, a series of events around the Makati Central Business District celebrating art beyond the fair’s venue.

Behind the Shadows by Norman Dero, mixed media on canvas

As in previous years, the public may visit art installations around Makati City.  This year’s three major public art exhibits will include an art installation by James Clar called I Can’t Tell You What I Don’t Know, Only That I Don’t Know, at the plinth in front of the Ayala Museum. Works by Juanito Torres and Norman Dreo, two solo exhibits in conversation under the title Perspectives,  will also be on view at the Greenbelt 5 Gallery.  For schedule and updates, visit www.10daysofart.com.

James Clar’s I Can’t Tell You What I Don’t Know, Only That I Don’t Know

Periquet said, “I’d like to point out that we at the Art Fair Philippines have really persevered to keep on going, adapting and pioneering new ways of experiencing and looking at art, despite everything the world has thrown at all of us these past couple of years. The shift online in 2021 wasn’t easy—we had to learn a new set of technical skills, and now in 2022, doing a hybrid fair is twice the work, of course!  But we do find it fulfilling testing our creativity and resilience to craft this art fair, and learn new things along the way. I’m hoping very much for a full, live presentation next year, our 10th anniversary!”

For more information on this year’s program and schedule of activities, www.artfairphilippines.com and follow Art Fair Philippines on Instagram (@artfairph) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/artfairph).


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