Four floors of art await patrons at Art Fair Philippines 2017. This year's lobby is a strange one, but perhaps also fitting. A Volkswagen Beetle welcomes visitors to the exhibit floor, which happens to be a parking lot. Touché.
Sponsors take up most of this floor—Don Papa Rum and Bench found a way to turn their brands into art. Ronald Ventura's "Shadow Forest: Encounters and Explorations" is flanked by these two companies. It's best to tour his little nook last before heading out to the 6th and 7th floor, where most of the fun can be had.
Upstairs, special exhibits by WSK, Maria Jeona Zoleta, and Jose Terence Ruiz set a strong tone for the Art Fair.
Ruiz's Langue Lounge puts the "Fifty Shades" series to shame. Large chairs covered in fuzzy red velvet had people posing provocatively for their selfies. Kinkiness aside, these were actually designed as a commentary on the motion to bring back the death penalty. The base is reminiscent of electric chairs.
WSK up on 7th made sound with metal sheets and if you're inclined to call it music, you are quite free to do so. Patrons are encouraged to interact with the metal sheets and make melodies with their fingers.
If WSK's area is loud by sound, Maria Jeona Zoleta is screaming quietly in neon.
"Forced Farts, Cartoon Pain and Daddy Issues or Accident by Voodoo while I Masturbate Underwater with My Adult Baby Diaper Rash until Hell Freezes Over is a Freak Show" is unabashedly pink and is reminiscent of Romeo Lee's punk creations. (Incidentally, Lee's golden form is present at the Art Fair again.)
A complementing exhibit by Yeo Kaa (with Lynyrd Paras) can be found at Secret Fresh's corner. Kaa is a little more pastel, but is just as colorful and unapologetic in being female.
Agnes Arellano takes this to the highest level at the Art Fair. Her large sculptures depicting goddesses is inviting rather than imposing—save maybe for the lady holding an ax and a head severed from its body.
In her corner, shielded from the rest of the exhibit with curtains, strong women with extra appendages (extra breasts, extra arms) seemed to reign supreme.
Across the exhibit floor, another set of sculptures by Arellano celebrate the female form. Women with large bossoms, broad shoulders, full bellies (possibly pregnant, but let's not assume), and wide hips mingle together. Their curves are gentle and studying these small brass women's forms is a soothing activity.
At Silverlens, Wawi Navarroza's large portrait has an equally mesmerizing quality. The artist is propped up by a crutch and is surrounded by foliage and it almost feels like a love letter to the great Frida Kahlo, a woman who defined herself.
#Repost @silverlensgalleries ??? 7 days to go before @artfairph! We are showing a new series by @wawinavarroza at Booth 22 (6/F The Link, Makati) titled Tropical Tapestry, which she created in Bali. Navarroza is also part of Shared Residence, which will be launched tonight at the @ateneoartgallery, and GR-09022017, a book to be launched tomorrow in Oslo, Norway that includes the works of 100 important contemporary photographers from all over the world. Congratulations, Wawi! ???? Photo: “I Want To Live A Thousand More Years” (Self-Portrait After Dengue, with tropical plants and fake flowers) Wawi Navarroza, 2016 #AFP2017 #ArtFairPhilippines #ArtFairPhilippines2017 #ArtFairPH #SILVERLENS #SilverlensGalleries #SilverlensArtists #WawiNavarroza #Art#ContemporaryArt #ArtPH #PhilippineArts
Eleanor Giron's works in Kaida Contemporary similarly continues this tradition. Nudes are not a rarity in the art world, but it is always refreshing to see women artists depicting their bodies in a non-sexual way. Of course, helping sexuality be seen is also a beautiful sight to behold.
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These works are in stark contrast with Araki's—found in the KOD x Kogure booth—and comparing the two should spark some interesting discussions.
In Art Cube's area, it would have been wise to have a bench in front of Orley Ypon's work from the Adam's Rib series. The piece showing women bathing or frolicking by the river motivates the viewer to contemplate about grand things in its depiction of such a plain sight.
Blunt political messages were surprisingly scarce, despite the political turmoil in the country and elsewhere around the world.
But perhaps the large woman with four arms who might have decapitated a man is all the message we need right now.
What is she telling you? — BM, GMA News