Art Fair Philippines: Exploring This Year’s Biggest Art Market
Art Fair Philippines, the biggest art market in the country, was held on February 21. Artists, critics, collectors, gallery owners and personnel, connoisseurs, patrons, enthusiasts and the public gathered at The Link Carpark in Makati City to experience and witness the fair that has gone global this year. This year’s festival showcased many contemporary artworks that were curated and exhibited by 40 participating art galleries from the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Spain.
This year marked the 4th edition of the Art Fair Philippines. Founded in 2013, it is the premier platform for exhibiting and selling the best in modern and contemporary Philippine visual art. It aims to mirror the vibrant local art scene and continue to generate support for Filipino art practitioners.
The Art Market
Art Fair Philippines is primarily an exhibition and selling platform of Philippine contemporary art. I paid PHP50 as entrance fee because I am a student (PHP150 regular price), in exchange for my experience that could add to my knowledge and awareness.
Since it is a marketplace, the prominent personalities for this kind of event are the gallery owners (sellers), the art collectors (buyers), and the artists (commodity). Artists are transformed into products. It’s not the style, the content, the mediums or the forms that matter—it’s the creator and his craftsmanship.
Art, then, becomes one of the best investments. While the moneyed and affluent perused through the fair, marking pieces to add to their collections, other fairgoers were content with window shopping.
The Art Experience
It took me four hours to go window shopping from one gallery to another. The exhibits were overwhelming because each gallery displayed works in various sizes, media and styles.
The curation, or the use of space and the arrangement of works, of each gallery reflected horror vacui (fear of space) and its opposite, horror plenitudinous. Some galleries showcased plenty of artworks of vast sizes, making the space cluttered. For these galleries, the entire wall must be covered in art. Meanwhile, other galleries just displayed the works of the notable artists.
In essence, it was a juxtaposition of suffocation and relief. According to Cecilia S. De Lapaz, a professor of Art Studies from UP, good curation must have an idea of wonder and resonance. The aesthetic feeling must be engaged, and the content must be retained in the mind. The special exhibits, from famous artists, portrayed good curatorial practice. In contrast, the majority of the galleries were just spectacles. They only gave me a feeling of awe, but afterward, I have forgotten what I looked at.
Despite some setbacks, Art Fair Philippines is still a great way appreciate art. If art is a good investment for the elite, then it is also a good investment for the general public—simply for appreciation and knowledge. Learn more by visiting next year’s fair!