Art Fair Philippines 2014 (An Overdue)

I used to work in an art gallery and even if I shifted career two years ago, I would still like to believe I am still connected to the art world.

Back then, I used to be critical of art fairs. No, I have not yet experienced an A-List/VIP art fair, except for the Hong Kong Art Fair in 2011 which was some sort of educational trip for me. We visited not only to spot international artists but also look at how international galleries brand, give identity, and market their art. Back then, comparing their and our Art Fair was plain unjust. It would be purely a conflict of interest. This time however, I am to shut my chubby face and list down personal favorites from the Art Fair:

It might be that branch which extended outside the confines of of the frame of the artwork itself which initially reminded me of Brancusi’s Flight. However, staring at it for a little more time made me drawn to its simple and minimalist aesthetic, which implied more of a feeling or a setting (a place) rather than an outright portrayal. This appealed more on the mind, producing a memory or a movie still of a scorching hot desert.

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New Mexico by Christina Quisumbing Ramilo

I have developed a penchant for Anting-Anting and other related paraphernalia ever since I worked on my thesis on Solar Drawing. It showed the beliefs and wisdom of the olden days. In Noell El Farol’s work however, the Anting Antings were hung in a clothes hanger as something that could be worn and disposed right after use. It mocked  the convenience and availability of today’s things, be it tangible or not.

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Disposable Anting Anting by Noell El Farol

Being a book lover, this installation from Ringo Bunoan made me go “Aww, look at this.” And yes, by looking at this and reading the notes on the wall made me agree on the artist’s idea and commentary on life and death.

This is a floor to ceiling installation of books set up next to a range of framed “the end” pages. (See image below)

It’s a philosophical take on how the end is detached from the narrative itself, or simply, how death is separate from life lived.

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No Endings by Ringo Bunoan

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Endings by Ringo Bunoan

Norberto Roldan’s works have always piqued my interest. Not only because they looked like altars or retablos, but also because it seems to tell very personal stories.

I saw him a few times before working in his space at the Green Papaya arts project. I saw old photos,  perfume bottles, cans, mirrors, crowns, handkerchiefs, etc. Each had (or lacked) a story as they were. But when put together to form an image, suddenly, they meant so much more. I always fall in admiration at how he stripped every single detail off its essence in order for it to obtain a new one in accordance to all other elements present in the image. It feels like peeking and watching a moment in somebody’s life unfold in my eyes.

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100 Altars for Roberto Chabet by Norberto Roldan

This detail from the artwork pictured above reminded me of days when Kuya Kevin and I would visit Peewee (Norberto Roldan) in his space to chat about art, even gossip sometimes. Kuya Kevin would bring him works for consultancy, or papers, or letters. One time, he brought him moon cake tin cans he could use for his works. This tin cans do not mean anything to anyone, not even to Kuya Kevin who gave it to him. He may or may have not used it for his work. It may even be this detail, who knows.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, I may have seen an actual tin can in his work, but it resonated a moment of the past so much different from it being a mere tin can. Suddenly, things are seen more than they are.

You may have experienced the same if this reminded you of Wong Kar Wai.

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Detail of 100 Altars for Roberto Chabet by Norberto Roldan

This one caught my fancy for personal reasons. I love hand written and mailed letters.

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Iconic by Jia Estrella

I liked Alwin Reamillo for his overwhelming yet interesting pastiche of materials and imagery. His works are random found objects stitched together in such disarray, that seeks and struggles to uncover history and identity. Yes, it may seem chaotic and disorderly, but it is actually a memory, a story told.

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Unnatural History, ang totoong alamat ng pilipinas a pensar en la immortalidad del canajero by Alwin Reamillo

Notice that he used crab shells for these portraits.

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Detail from Unnatural History, ang totoong alamat ng pilipinas a pensar en la immortalidad del canajero by Alwin Reamillo

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Detail from Unnatural History, ang totoong alamat ng pilipinas a pensar en la immortalidad del canajero by Alwin Reamillo

This Nick Veasey initially reminded me of Nona Garcia’s entry to the Phillip Morris Art Awards. This one however, piqued my interest in structure and production.

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Accordion by Nick Veasey

Self-portraits has always appealed to me. It seems confrontational and conversational. It gives further depth and involvement.

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Self-Portrait for My Grandmother, the Photographer by Wawi Navarroza

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The Painter’s Garden by Wawi Navarroza

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Viva La Frida by Wawi Navarroza

I have known Victor Balanon for his smooth transition from making drawings to creating videos out of them. More admiration goes out for his carefully conceptualized and excellently executed videos. This one at the art fair is no exception of his remarkable works.

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Still from Orpheus Reversed by Victor Balanon

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Still from Orpheus Reversed by Victor Balanon

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2 comments

  1. We have different favorites for Art Fair! Haha. Although I think I saw Endings too but don’t quite remember anymore. My favorite was the Alice in Wonderland Mixed Media pieces. 😛

    1. I remember that well! I like that too, but wasn’t able to take a good look/photos at the set since there were many kids hovering around. They were pretty amazed.

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