Just like last year, Art Fair Philippines 2016 kicked off with a vernissage for press and special guests of the art world so that they can view works by local talents, with the inclusion of international artists, in the company of good wine and food.
And in case you were wondering, no, we did not see John Lloyd Cruz last night, surprisingly. We were expecting to see him though especially since he attended Art Fair last year. Maybe he’s still handling certain rumors on the sidelines that’s why he’s absent? Oh, right. They’re only friends.
Nonetheless, we were still lucky enough to bump into some personalities while roaming around the galleries that occupied two floors of The Link’s parking lot-turned-museum.
Upon entering, we immediately saw Heart Evangelista and Mark Bumgarner—the collab behind the Mark x Love Marie collection—strolling each of the galleries together, and even taking photos of one of her works displayed in one of them which was definitely a milestone for her. Maybe she’ll get a whole gallery to herself next year. Who knows?
With around 40 galleries to check out, you’d think that there wouldn’t be time to take a break from all the art that you need to digest before the day ends. But at one of the walls of the second floor, next to Vinyl on Vinyl’s gallery, there is a slow motion video projection of the sea and the sky—a presentation by Martha Atienza called “Fair Isle.” There are two chairs placed in front of the wall so people could watch the calming view before continuing their walkthrough of the place.
Later that evening, we approached actor Xian Lim who invited us to check out his works displayed at the YOD x KAGURE, Japan gallery (number 39, if you’re curious). When we got there, a live two-piece band was playing in the corner led by Barbie Almabis, who was on guitar. Other personalities like Tim Yap and fashion designer Pepito Albert were also there to show their support for Xian.
As we walked through every corner of the place, passing by attendees holding glasses of wine or cans of beer, it dawned on me just how bad I am at remembering beautiful artworks, but always seem to recall the ones that looked weird and disturbing. To give you a hint: At Galleria Duemila, there are paintings and figurines of pigs—some looked mundane and normal, and others are just downright scary, especially if you’re scared of insects.
I also recall seeing dismembered elephant feet somewhere, but I guess we were busy chatting with Quark Henares and his friends to even check which gallery that was.
Moving on. Overall, nothing notably crazy happened the whole night, unless you consider people turning their heads every time Tessa Prieto-Valdes walked by with her big red hat (which looked fabulous, by the way), and artist Dex Fernandez snatching some free mints that he used to pose in his photo.
But hey, there were no shenanigans, no over-the-top gimmicks, just pure art-viewing and good conversations between friends while they discussed the implied meanings of each work. Maybe this was intended to be more relaxing this year because of everyone’s fast-paced lives? Because it sure felt like it.
Photos by Paolo Tabuena