art fair, a mix

It’s been five hundred years since this was a thing (yeah, third year medical school just keeps knocking me off the park). Let me mix you a playlist of my favorite pieces from Art Fair PH 2019 last February.

I’m on my twenty-minute pomodoro break in the middle of studying for the year-end OSCE. Shh.

01: Dr. Karayom, FLAWS

Doktor Karayom (real name: Rasel Trinidad) is a street artist I am only vaguely familiar with. I’m sure his works have some deeper meaning and uncanny gravitas, but that’s not the reason FLAWS is number one on this list.

The playful reference to KAWS (real name: Brian Donnelly) was the first thing that caught my eye. I’ve been fascinated by his sculptures lately because they tend to sell for unimaginably high prices. It’s become a brand. The second reason why I loved FLAWS is because of its commentary, as the name suggests. Little demonic sculptures with colorful viscera underneath.

Finally, and maybe most ridiculously, I am always a little bit attracted to any piece highlighting some rendition of human anatomy. When I’m older I’ll probably be dedicating wall and rooms to artworks with stylized anatomy.

02: Daniel dela Cruz, FINDING THE LIGHT

Every year (or at least it seems) Daniel dela Cruz stages an exhibit that’s dark and provocative. This year his exhibit is less contentious –it works to “raise awareness & lessen the stigma associated with mental health issues”, which is a worthy cause all around. The exhibit was done in collaboration with mental health advocacy groups.

Artistically, there were only a few sculptures that really caught my eye. Most of them evoked the feeling of hyperawareness, claustrophobia and loneliness that comes with being too immersed with social media abuse.

Truly, it was more of the message that made this exhibit so attractive. We do need more mental health professionals, and we do need a more humane and compassionate culture.

03: Fernando Botero, Three Women Drinking

Flip through enough art books and you’ve probably seen a work done by master Fernando Botero Angulo, or at least a piece inspired by his style “Boterismo”. I honestly wasn’t expecting to his works in the Art Fair PH, but I was glad for the opportunity.

“Three Women Drinking” is a typifying work from this Colombian painter and sculptor. You can appreciate his volumetric style which gave abundant and saturated form to everything within the picture. The atmosphere of the painting also feels very Colombian, if I can say such a thing.

04: Ayka Go, Landscape Studies 2

I can honestly say that this piece isn’t the sort of work that would catch your eye. Nestled among other vibrant pieces, it was almost easy to miss –there’s no line of action, no dramatic scene. Even the contrasts are too safe and playful…. And yet a closer look at the colors and textures almost gave me a sense of piece and wonder. I wanted to keep looking at it.

Later I found out that it’s one of her most enjoyed works (at least as captioned in her instagram @aykago), and I think that joy really translates in this piece. I made my photo of it my wallpaper for weeks after the fair.

05: Sid Natividad, Deeper Silence

I’m not a big fan of photorealistic pieces (or even of photographic prints), but his panels in Art Fair PH deserves recognition. Part of it must have been the staging; the gallery was dimmed to almost true darkness, until the only thing that shone through were the eerie images of faceless women drowning. There’s also something to be said about technique, and the way the paintings seemed taken straight from the depths of the water.

Everything came together to evoke a sense of anxiety and maybe muted horror. That’s actually what I feel when I’m swimming in the open sea, come to think of it.

BONUS ARTISTS

Marina Cruz

Ever since I saw one of her exhibits in the Lopez Museum a couple of years ago, I’ve been seeing her everywhere. I can tell her pieces by sight even several meters away (though I think most people can). I still love her sense of color. At this point I am also amused by her relationship with clothes.

Yeo Kaa

Excellent modern sculptures and artwork from a pop star in the local art scene. But mostly I’m adding her here because of the hilarious moment where we lined up for like 20 minutes for her exhibit, thinking mistakenly that it was for the BenCab exhibit right next door.

Hokusai

I’ve probably seen a work by Hokusai in one of the many art museums I’ve visited in the past. I think his mastery is always worth mentioning. Iconic.

CODA

I also went to Ortigas Art Festival 2019 in Estancia. Making art more accessible is a wonderful idea, though I think there’s still a long way to go in terms of making the exhibits more engaging.

I love going to these fairs whenever I can, because I never get the time to actually visit galleries in Manila and Greenhills and QC –moments like these are the closest I can come. Art Fair PH always has a great curation of works from the local art scene.

This is probably the second or third year I’ve been to the fair with my sister. It has been: fun.

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