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What to watch for at Art Fair Philippines 2017

Art Fair Philippines—the nations’ most important visual arts event—happens once again from February 16 to 19, 10am to 9pm.

Founded in 2013, Art Fair Philippines is the premier platform for exhibiting and selling the best in modern and contemporary Philippine visual art. The fair aims to mirror the vibrant local art scene and continue to generate support for Filipino art practitioners.

Set in an alternative urban venue, Art Fair Philippines makes art accessible to enthusiasts and to those who want to discover one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting art landscapes. Philippine Art Events, Inc. oversees the management of Art Fair Philippines.


Entrance and curated tours

Ticket prices are P250 for regular visitors, P50 for students with valid Ids, and free for makati students with valid Ids. For details visit

Free upon payment of the art fair entrance fee are tour with guest curator Iris Ferrer. Meet at The Link, 6F Tours Desk. Individual or group tours conducted by a guest curator can be arranged for art patrons, clubs or organizations at a special rate. Please email to inquire.

Special presentations

Bench presents Jose Tence Ruiz: Recently feted as one of the featured artists in the Philippine representation in the 2015 Venice Biennale, which took place after an absence of fifty years, Tence Ruiz’s work often features a strong socio-political commentary. His installation for Art Fair Philippines 2017 is no exception. In this meditation upon the current debate on the death penalty, religious and satirical elements are cleverly intertwined in a monstrous and surreal setting that tempts the viewer to experience a problematic concept, thus bringing a darkly looming possibility into the horizon of the real world.

Bench presents Agnes Arellano: A renowned sculptor whose work and life blur as she delves into the feminine and its multiple aspects, especially the divine, mystical, and erotic; Arellano creates a shrine to her female alter-egos in the art fair. Upon entering a dark, temple-like space, one encounters four larger-than-life celestial beings reconstructed from live casts of the artist’s own naked body, sculpted in cast stone and stained with tea. The viewer is invited to sense the enlightenment of Dakini, Tantric sky dancer; the life-giving of Inanna, multi-breasted cow goddess; the conflicting powers of retribution and benevolence of Kali, Hindu goddess of Time, Death, and Destruction; and the epiphany of the Magdalene, Christ’s most beloved disciple.

Bench presents Elmer Borlongan, Emmanuel Garibay, Mark Justiniani: Three renowned artists, each with a distinct aesthetic of expressive figuration rooted in a social realist tradition, come together in a reunion of sorts for this year’s art fair. They often collaborated in their youth on large works for artist collectives with an activist cause, such as Salingpusa, during the political turbulence of 1980s. The three went on to establish stellar solo careers. For Art Fair Philippines 2017, CANVAS—The Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development—has brought the three artists together once again in a collaborative process to revisit and reflect on the past, present and future of the nation. The resulting work is a magnificent mural that is a fitting tribute to their past association in an artistic tradition they had in common, now reshaped and updated as a commentary on the country’s current political climate.

Bench presents Patricia Perez Eustaquio: Her work often hyper-focuses on a marginal or fragmentary object, exploring ideas of memory and perception as she toys with its materiality. Using a variety of mediums, she constantly experiments with forms and techniques, with fabric being a favorite. In the art fair, she will present a trio of tapestries juxtaposed with an abstract sculpture wrapped in velvet. As always, her work will emphasize the disciplined and consistent approach she takes towards subject matter and artistic methods.

Bench presents Maria Jeona Zoleta: Her multi-media work is instantly recognizable with its neon pastel hues, deceivingly girlish subject matter replete with sexual imagery and pop culture references, among her many millennial obsessions. Whimsical installations that incorporate painting, video and performance art are par for the course for Zoleta. Her work is intensely personal, though not private, reflecting her fantasies in an explosion of color and material, and always delivered with a light-hearted, cheerful touch.

Bench presents WSK: Sound art, in which sound is used as a medium, is very much a part of the contemporary art landscape. Often used in conjunction with video, sculpture, electronics, and other modern and traditional media, sound art demands direct engagement with the viewer or listener. A group of eight sound artists, collectively known as WSK, come together especially for the art fair. WSK is a take on the Tagalog slang word wasak meaning “shattered”. Specially created machines will showcase different types of sound and encourage viewer participation. The exhibition will kick off with a robot-relay orchestration of all the contraptions, operated by their makers. The interactive exhibit invites viewers to participate in producing sound by manipulating the machines themselves.

Globe Platinum presents Dex Fernandez: The epitome of a multi-skilled, multi-media artist, Dex Fernandez can draw cartoon murals spontaneously. Using deft, sure strokes, he begins with a small central image that quickly blossoms into a multiplicity of linked animation-inspired figures on a large canvas. Fernandez flourishes in the world of street art and its undercurrents of subversion. He is well-known for his iconic pet-symbol, the Garapata, or tick, whose cartoon image he furtively pastes in various spots as he journeys through the city. For the art fair, Fernandez combines the Garapata icon with animation, using hundreds of publicly contributed drawings to produce an on-the-spot animated video that fairgoers can participate in creating.

The Karen H. Montinola Selection presents Mark Valenzuela: His work explores the issues of conflict, anxiety and displacement in society. It is characterized by the use of repetitive forms and shapes in ceramic, often combined with intricately detailed drawing or painting. His carefully considered and well-made objects combine in an installation that encourages quiet introspection.

The Julius Baer Art Collection presents Christian Marclay: “Telephones” is a 7.5 minute compilation of clips from Hollywood movies, showing people on the phone. The “who’s who” of Hollywood films-Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Goldie Hawn, Katharine Hepburn, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan to name a few – dial, hear the phone ring, pick up the receiver, speak, respond, say good-bye and hang up, expressing a variety of emotions. Christian Marclay’s artistic practice is shaped by the principle of “sampling”, by transforming ready-made materials and assembling fragmented objects. With “Telephones”, he created a conversation of his own, leaving the impression that the actors are all part of a storyline. Art Fair Philippines is pleased to present this video installation courtesy of Christian Marclay and the Julius Baer Art Collection.

Volkswagen presents Arkiv Vilmansa: “Luminous Landscape” is the development of ideas and exploration of inspired by Arkiv Vilmansa’s passion for architectural landscape, the vibrant colors of animated characters, and his religious endeavor. This new series is inspired by the pilgrimage of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his companions, a journey undertaken for a religious purpose, to free the Self from sin and to move towards virtue. Topographic images recreated with fluid lines course through the canvas with intent and harmony. With color rhythm and tonal transition he reveals the intensity of light from dark to bright and, by eliminating details, his paintings become seemingly luminous. Arkiv’s own pilgrimage journey brings him to a new chapter remapping his existence in relation to the law of the creator. Born and raised in Indonesia, Vilmansa graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture which some say may be the source of the fine lines and fluidity in his work. He has since exhibited in galleries around the world and has been showcased in the Venice Biennale and other art fairs. He is currently collaborating with IKEA.

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila presents Ronald Ventura: His ongoing exhibition Shadow Forest: Encounters and Explorations at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila goes offsite at Art Fair Philippines 2017 with imaginative and transcendental journeys and flights. The main installation at Art Fair Philippines is “Waves,” a large boat sculpture made of fiberglass, wood and metal, illuminated by projections inside the dark room that can be viewed from a glass window. This artwork, whose imagery is reminiscent of the Philippine pre-colonial artifact, the Manunggul Jar, alludes to the competing forces at play in contemporary life, the push and pulls in migration, and the struggles that relocation bring forth amid the bigger challenge to survive and keep afloat. A sample of Ventura’s new works including images viewed through a lightbox and new digital prints will also be featured in the special setting at Art Fair Philippines. The exhibition of Ronald Ventura’s collection of over 100 new and iconic works using different media in fiberglass, steel, resin, glass and paper, is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila at the BSP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila until March 3, 2017.

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