ART IN THE CITY
The Best of Modern and Contemporary Art
It takes very little to see, that access to art and culture events can be as literal as geography: where are we having these events and who can go there?
The first Art Fair Philippines (AFP) 2013, seems to have taken on this challenge, not just of generating interest for local art, but also making it as accessible. And if the slew of people who came for its four- day run is any indication, then certainly the decision to have it at the 6th floor of The Link car park, in the middle of Ayala Center, was one of the bravest its organizers could have made.
That is, one of the more daring choices made by the three women of AFP. Lisa Periquet, Trickie Lopa, and Dindin Araneta who also make up Art Cabinet Philippines as they are also, members of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines (MFP), which organizes the annual Art In The Park at the Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, also in Makati. Their names may sound all stereotypically conservative, and it is easy to imagine—and even dismiss—their forays into art to be conventional by default.
There is nothing conservative about the art that is here, and neither is it limited to one aesthetic. Once they let go of having curatorial control over each space, and simply encouraged the invited galleries to carefully think of the works they would be putting up, it became clear that what AFP would offer is also a sense of the landscape of contemporary art galleries. Some hold curated exhibits and others sell works. Ceding control to all galleries was the calculated risk that the women behind AFP have taken.
“The Art Fair managed to push the boundaries in terms of what were exhibited (as well as sold), such as works on paper and photographs apart from oil paintings; or large assemblage installations and small objects apart from sculpture pieces. There were video and graffiti works—two solo exhibitions presented by galleries. There were gallery exhibitions that had a central theme or told a story. There were exquisite modern art pieces for sale which stood out from among the contemporary art [works]. There were [also] special installations,” Dindin says.
The latter had the three women
deciding on their major names: Ronald Ventura, Gabby Barredo, and Norberto Roldan, as all three worked within the limits
of AFP’s venue. Lisa surmises, “Choosing a car park as the venue was an important aspect of the concept of a contemporary art fair. We transformed an unlikely venue into a great exhibition space. I think the venue, with its attendant limitations, served as inspiration for some artists, such as Ronald Ventura's Bulol installation which was reprised from his Vargas <Museum> show, but in a totally different way, with added material such as the polycarbonate
Thanks to the brilliant minds of the Kenneth Cobonpue team, who designed the ebb and flow of the space, The Link car park the most unexpected yet surprisingly
apt space for contemporary Philippine art. The floors and fixtures were left as is, and the effect was one that was urbane and
street. With a hint of classiness and grace that is rarely seen and felt in cultural events on these shores, no matter where these
are held. And AFP has made itself more accessible to the public, with discounts for students and admission prices cheaper
even than a movie.
This has also allowed for the impressive display of a huge Ventura Bulol in the middle of Ayala Center, sculptures by
Charlie Co in Tower One & Exchange Plaza building in Makati, installations by Leeroy New on the walkway between Landmark and Greenbelt and a huge slingshot in the middle of Glorietta by Mark Justiniani—a coinciding urban art project of the “Make It Happen, Make It Makati” campaign.
“[ We] want our contemporary art scene to be part of the national psyche, to broaden its appreciation among average Filipinos, to dispel the notion that you need a dozen degrees behind your name to do
so. I'd love for the fair to uplift standards (both for viewers and artists) to do what Cinemalaya has done for independent cinema and what Citem's FAME has done
for the local design industry,” Trickie says.
And with the daring of these three women, it would seem that Art Fair Philippines is on its way to achieving precisely that.
Personalities who graced the launch of the Art Fair include: Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Lizzie Zobel, BenCab, Margie Moran- Floriendo,
Julius Babao, Susan Calao- Medina, Rajo Laurel, Erwann Heussaff, Cristalle BeloHenares, Irene Araneta, Lisa Bayot, and
Reg Yuson to name a few.
Ten months in the making, Asphalt by Gabby Barredo is one of the unique artworks featured at the fair. (from left)— Dindin Araneta, Trickie Lopa, and Lisa Periquet
The top artists who showcased their works at the Art Fair include: Norbert Roldan, Geraldine Javier, Nona Garcia, Louie Cordero, Maria Taniguchi, Leslie de Chavez, Patricia Eustaquio, Roberto Chabet, Elmer Borlongan, Emmanuel Garibay, Manuel Ocampo, Rodel Tapaya, Pauline and Ivan Despi, Eduardo Castrillo, Arturo Luz, and Impy Pilapil.