Art fair in the car park ‘overwhelm’

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CANVAS takes on the theme “Basketball” and shows how the sport has embedded itself in Filipino identity. Its booth features works of Anthony Palomo, Elmer Borlongan and J. Pacena among others (left to right). PHOTOS BY JILSON SECKLER TIU

FROM TOP: Recent CCP Thirteen Artists Award recipient Mark Salvatus; Ronald Ventura; Canvas’ Gigo Alampay

BEMBOL de la Cruz’s series “Unearth” at Finale Art File gives an onlooker something to ponder on.

With the just-concluded Art Fair Philippines (AFP) 2013, its creators (the same people behind the annual Art in the Park) moved to another kind of alternative art space; a “light-up” car park in the middle of Makati.

Twenty-four galleries and art groups brought out “the best of Philippine contemporary art” and placed them on the revamped sixth parking level of The Link, Makati, Jan. 7-10.

The unexpected choice of art space was made to enhance the presence of Philippine contemporary art on the international radar, especially since art fairs abroad make use of unconventional locations and imaginative exhibition concepts.

“Our ultimate goal is to offer a rich visual experience to anyone wanting to find out what Philippine contemporary art is all about,” said Trickie Lopa, Lisa Periquet and Dindin Araneta, organizers, in the AFP catalogue.

While AFP did not impose a theme on its handpicked exhibitors, organizers urged them to come up with curatorial plans for display ideas.

Industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue and Leandro V. Locsin Partners laid out the space.

INCLUDED in Salcedo Auctions’ display of National Artist J. Elizalde Navarro’s pieces is relief sculpture “Is He The Man?” (1960).

Exhibitors included Altro Mondo; Art Cube; Art Informal; Avellana Gallery; Bureau of Artistic Rehab (BAR); Blanc; Boston Gallery; Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (Canvas); The Drawing Room; Finale Art File; Galleria Duemila; Light and Space Contemporary; Liongoren Gallery; Manila Contemporary; Mo Space; Now Gallery; Pablo; Paseo Gallery; PMAP Philippine Art Awards; Salcedo Auctions; Secret Fresh; Silverlens; Tin-Aw; and West Gallery.

The displays were overwhelming and all artworks interesting. Personally, I’d indulge in a second visit so I could completely take in what the fair has to offer,” said sculptor Ramon Orlina, who added he was tickled pink upon seeing artist Justin “Tiny” Nuyda’s painting-homage to him.

The fair also presented three “featured artists.”

Gabriel Barredo’s sculptural assemblage dominated the space. The mini-hallway led onlookers to an otherworldly realm overflowing with Barredo’s play of movement, sound and light.

The three-dimensional “Asphalt” was a mixed-media compilation of Barredo’s creations, inviting viewers to be “swallowed by darkness.”

Sotheby’s auction record-breaker Ronald Ventura did a fresh take on the Ifugao granary deity, the bulul. The reinterpretation was his “homage to our indigenous culture,” Ventura said.

Norberto Roldan presented his catalogue of old objects as tangible history.

Lectures included “Preventive Conservation for Art Collectors at Home,” by art-collections-management consultant Ricky Francisco; “Dealing with the Art Market: A Panel Forum,” moderated by Cultural Center of the Philippines’ visual-arts coordinator Ma. Victoria Herrera; and “The ‘F’ Word: Fake, Fraud and Forgery,” by art critic Cid Reyes.

A closer look at Norberto Roldan’s object assemblage “What Is the Color of Faith(?)”

AFP also launched the Philippine Art Awards 2013-2014.

The art fair partnered with the “Make It Happen, Make It Makati” campaign, which allowed public showcases of various artists’ works in and out of the venue.

“We’re very proud to participate in the art fair, not only because it has been so vibrantly and thoughtfully organized, but also because it is consistent with our mission to help make art more accessible and, even more important, relevant to the public,” said Gigo Alampay of Canvas gallery. “That’s also why we chose to mount an exhibition centered around a theme that, we believe, a wide spectrum of Philippine society can identify with.”

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