Take Me to the Fair: Your Guide to Art Fair Philippines 2024

Art Fair Philippines’ 11th edition will feature a 10-day public art countdown, live poetry reading, and a conversational space for film luminaries and cinephiles

Introduction and Interview Gabrielle de la Cruz
Images Art Fair Philippines 2024

The Link, Makati City is the official venue of Art Fair Philippines 2024. Header: Artwork by this year’s Karen H. Montinola Grant, Gean Brix Garcia

And The Link connects artists and art enthusiasts again! As in previous editions, Art Fair Philippines is happening in The Link, Makati City, from February 16 to 18, 2024. Levels four to seven of the car park will be transformed into exhibition spaces, with architectural firm Leandro V. Locsin Partners returning as Art Fair Philippines’ exhibit design consultant. This edition will feature 55 exhibitors, including artists and galleries from the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Spain.

Jumpstarting the fair is 10 Days of Art, a public art takeover in the Makati Central Business District starting on February 9, 2024. The countdown was conceived in 2017 and is dedicated to highlighting art displays and complimentary gallery exhibits outside The Link. This year’s public art component is by Derek Tumala and Isaiah Cacnio, who will present A Warm Orange Coloured Liquid at the Tower 1 Fountain and Prismatic Embrace at the Green Wall of the Ayala Triangle Gardens, respectively.

Art Fair Philippines’ seven sections

Come Art Fair week, patrons will be encouraged to explore seven sections namely Projects, Residencies, Film, Photo, Digital, Talks, and Incubators. Projects will be dedicated to the fair’s featured artists and special exhibitions. It will also house the Karen H. Montinola Grant, named after the late art patron Karen Montinola, a collector of emerging artists’ artworks. The grant was launched in 2014, and Gean Brix Garcia was selected as this year’s recipient.

Above, from L to R: Karen H. Montinola Grant recipient Gean Brix Garcia, Projects section featured local artists Jigger Cruz, Jonathan Ching, and Rod Paras-Perez; Below, from L to R: Projects section featured international artists Andreea Medar, Eugenio Ampudia, Mr. Starcity, and Taloi Havini

The Residencies section will highlight the residency program that Art Fair Philippines started in 2021. Venice Art Biennale 2024 Philippine representative Mark Salvatus will present his work for the Manila Observatory in Quezon City, Manila under this section, along with other artists such as Anna Miguel Cervantes for Linangan Art Residency in Alfonso, Cavite and Renz Baluyot for Orange Project in Bacolod, Negros Occidental.

ArtFairPH/Residencies section’s exhibitors are Julian Tapales of Butanding Barrio, Jett Ilagan of Emerging Islands, Anna Miguel Cervantes of Linangan Art Residency Program, Mark Salvatus of Manila Observatory, and Renz Baluyot and Iseult Perrault of The Orange Project

Taking over this year’s Film section is the No Showing program curated by Moira Lang and co-presented by Archivo Gallery in cooperation with Club Kino. Co-founder Geraldine “Dindin” Araneta shared that unlike previous editions, 2024’s Art Fair Philippines Film section will not host any film screenings. Instead, the No Showing program will follow a “speakeasy” concept during the three-day fair, allowing guests to share insights and updates on the film industry over drinks with luminaries such as scriptwriter Ricky Lee and director Erik Matti.

FotomotoPH, a Manila-based collective of visionary photographers, writers, and curators, will be the sole exhibitor under the ArtFairPH/Photo. The section is curated by former Metropolitan Museum of Manila director Sandra Palomar and will showcase the collective’s local annual exhibitions, public programs, and special projects with art spaces.

The youngest section in the fair is Digital, which was introduced in 2023 to provide a focus on digital media and works utilizing computer technology and artificial intelligence. Art Fair Philippines invited Filipino digital artists community CryptoArtPH to collaborate with them on a special exhibition for this year. They will also be flying in Daata founder David Gryn, who will present a selection of digital video artworks titled Best Dressed Chicken (Manila Version).

ArtFairPH/Talks also continues this year with the same partner, Ateneo Art Gallery. “Discussions will include the intersections of art and science, photography as authorship, women in modern art, and reading images from a historical perspective,” the Art Fair Philippines team shares. To deepen audience interest and knowledge in artwork conservation, the Lopez Museum and Library will also hold a demonstration on basic stretching, matting, and framing of canvas.

Qube, Artemis Art, Village Art Gallery, and White Walla Gallery are among Art Fair Philippines’ participating exhibitors this 2024

Breaking the mainstream gallery format are the fair’s Incubators, which will be housed on the fifth level. This section will include creative spaces from Authenticity Zero Collective, Istorya Studios, Manila Illustration Fair, Pangasinan Group, Talyer 15, and The Empty Scholar. Booths of the participating galleries will have varying designs as well and can be found throughout the exhibit.

Interview with co-founder Trickie Lopa

During the media launch of Art Fair Philippines today, January 16, 2024, co-founder Trixie Lopa shared that the designation of sections for the fair allows the event “to showcase art in all its forms.” Kanto invited her to a short chat after the program, where we discussed how they curated the exhibitions for each section, their thoughts on AI and technology in showcased artworks, and their approach to encouraging genuine art appreciation.

Below is our conversation:

Hi, Trickie! Is there a curatorial vision for this year’s Art Fair Philippines?  

Hello, Kanto! We don’t follow a curatorial vision for the entire fair. We leave the galleries to come up with their best presentation and work with the artists for the project sections. We don’t impose a theme or concept as we want the fair to be a space that welcomes ideas and encourages conversations.

Exhibiting under the Projects section is Tuklas Collab, c/o the Eskinita Art Farm

How do you select artists to participate in this installment? Or are any interested artists or galleries welcome to pitch?

The thing about Art Fair Philippines is that it is up to each of the exhibitors and artists to realize the projects. Anyone can apply, provided they have a compelling exhibition plan and curatorial concept for the fair. We then put our thinking caps on, debate, and exchange ideas to narrow down suspects.

It’s a ten-month-long process that involves a lot of back and forth. We usually start during May every year, but we started a little earlier for this edition.

The youngest section in the fair is ArtFairPH/Digital, which incorporates the influence of AI and technology in the creation of artworks. Can you tell us more about how this section can educate audiences on the said applications?

It’s important to note that the Digital section is a presentation of original artwork with the help of artificial intelligence. One thing that we want to emphasize here is that many artists now employ AI to assist them. We are living in a digital world now. Whether it’s to help an artist write out exhibition notes or spark ideas, AI now exists as a tool in the creative space.

CryptoArtPH, The Second Verse by Jopet Arias, 2024

We are living in a digital world now. With the prevalence of social media, how is the event adapting its staging or approach to encourage genuine art appreciation beyond just capturing moments for online sharing?

Thirty percent of the fair’s audience is young people—students and individuals under 30. The reality is that online sharing is how they express their interest and participation, so we don’t want to discount that.

Maybe for half the price, people come to the fair to capture something for social media. But for half of the people who will see these moments, it can spark deeper interest. It can lead them to want to see the artwork in a gallery or spark their curiosity about a certain art style or process.

Works of the Karen H. Montinola Grant awardees from 2014 to 2024

Are there specific initiatives or features in the exhibit designed to foster meaningful interactions between attendees and artists, so as to promote a deeper understanding and connection with the artworks?

Everything! We want the fair to be an opportunity to enjoy art in all its forms. We do have Eugenia Ampudia in our Project section, the Spanish artist who will be doing an interactive piece called Be a Tree Now, where guests can pose for photos and learn more about environmental concerns. We also have Mr. Starcity presenting his paintings with everyday poetry reading accompanied by background music.

No Showing will literally be a space for people to have conversations over drinks, so that’s a lot of interactions. The gallery exhibits themselves are spaces for conversation. We encourage everyone to go through them and engage with the collectives and individual artists present.

Eugenio Ampudia’s Be a Tree Now, a special exhibition under the Projects section

Looking forward to all this! What are you personally excited about for this year’s Art Fair?

Again, everything! I really can’t pinpoint one exhibit or event that I’m looking forward to. When we were putting together the program for this year, we realized that we have a lot going on. I think this is what led us to distribute the exhibitions in sections in the first place, and I’m just excited to hear creative noise for three straight days! •

Art Fair Philippines tickets will be available from February 16 to 18 at the 4th-floor reception. You may also purchase your tickets in advance here.

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