10 Must-See Works at Art Fair Philippines 2021

Before you get overwhelmed by all the art available online.

(SPOT.ph) The past editions of Art Fair Philippines were often a challenge to one's physical, emotional, and intellectual endurance, though one we all gamely took on as we went up and down four floors of The Link and took in all the art on exhibit. The current edition of Art Fair Philippines, which runs until May 15 through their website, is a whole different ball game. We may not have to weave our way through the crowd and from one booth to another, but it's just as easy to get lost in the bowels of the Internet.

In this year's ArtFairPH, we list down 10 works that you must see before you click on another tab on your browser. Don't forget to watch the videos that the exhibitors prepared to help you remember what it's like to see works in an actual art gallery.

Also read: The 10 Most Exciting Things About Art Fair Philippines 2021

Here are 10 works you shouldn't miss at Art Fair Philippines 2021:

"Alaypalay (study)" by Ding Gerrous (ArtFairPH/Photo Special Exhibit)

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PHOTO BY Website/Art Fair Philippines
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Ding Gerrous is a Paris-based photographer who uses a process called wet-plate collodion, invented in the 1850s. The photographs are developed on glass, and while his subjects for the series featured in the fair are inanimate, they all portray a haunting quality that feels almost ethereal. You can watch as the photos come to life, or book a Zoom portrait sitting via the Art Fair PH website.

"Orange Drifter at the Persian Gulf" by Joar Songcuya (Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea)

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PHOTO BY Website/Art Fair Philippines
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Maybe it’s the fact that it’s awash in a soothing blue, maybe it’s the subtle feeling of whimsy it conjures, maybe it’s your frame of mind when you see it—whatever it is, Joar Songcuya’s oil-on-canvas “Orange Drifter at the Persian Gulf” is a brightly colored but oddly melancholy portrait of a seafarer’s often-solitary life.

"Meron o Wala?" by Jes Aznar (Strange Fruit)

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Jes Aznar’s eye-catching photo captures a rooster mid-fight, isolating it so that it floats in a black void, feathers curled gracefully. It’s hard to imagine it’s in the middle of a duel that might actually lead to its death. 

"NAKIKITA KO ANG MGA KAPITBAHAY" by Yeo Kaa (Yavuz Gallery)

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PHOTO BY Website/Art Fair Philippines

Child-like figures in candy-colored settings characterize most of Yeo Kaa’s works, and this acrylic-on-canvas piece is no different. Her selection of works at Yavuz Gallery for this year’s fair takes on darker themes, showing a lone, often larger-than-life character seemingly thinking of out-of-this-world ideas. In “NAKIKITA KO ANG MGA KAPITBAHAY”, a figure sets sights on what seems to be, well, the neighbors in question in the form of colorful structures. It doesn't get any more close to real life, with most people's line of sight only going as far as the next-door neighbor because of the quarantine.

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"motels a sept-Iles 1×2 silver" by Petra Cortright (ArtFairPH/Film)

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PHOTO BY Website/Art Fair Philippines

ArtFairPH film “motels a sept-iles 1×2 silver” by Petra Cortright takes Photoshop layers together and brings them to life in one mesmerizing clip. Set to the soothing music of Jacob Gryn, viewers witness the screen-recorded creative process of creating artwork on the photo-editing software—from adding digital brush strokes onto the Photoshop canvas, tinkering with the opacity, to moving around the layers. As in real life where Photoshop layers are endlessly manipulated, each frame of the film presents a unique visual. To make this possible, programmer Carl Tashian wrote a Photoshop script that goes through the layers of the artist’s file.

"Movement on Stillness" by Chayanin Kwangkaew (Galerie Stephanie)

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Thai artist Chayanin Kwangkaew’s oil-on-canvas painting brings together various elements—usually with flowers as the star, based on his most recent Instagram posts—making for one impactful image. His works are described as those that expose “the lines of irony between reason and emotion.” For “Movement on Stillness”, florals, fabric, and other random objects come together in a subdued palette against uneven textures and shapes.

"Hold Onto the Dusk for the Dawn it Summons" by ARCE (Art Underground)

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PHOTO BY Website/Art Fair Philippines

Fine Arts graduate ARCE is known to deconstruct his own state of mind by physically twisting and melting his works of art. "Hold Onto the Dusk for the Dawn it Summons" is an oil on canvas painting with one edge seemingly melting and fading way in the same way that dusk seems to pull out all the light and colors of the sky. But ARCE also plays around with the tension between dusk and dawn, as if the two events push and pull one another.

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"artificialcrack1" by Celine Lee (MONO8 Gallery)

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Celine Lee often uses scientific and mathematical concepts and principles to make sense of the modern world through her art. In her "artificial" series for MONO8's show at Art Fair Philippines 2021, she showcases textile works that started out as a virtual mesh with cracks created using a 3D software. This image is translated as a physical artwork through embroidery in which Lee seems to mend the cracks through needle and thread.

"Wrangle" by Dino Gabito (The Metro Gallery)

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It's hard to look away (or, in this case, close the browser) from Dino Gabito's "Wrangle." The oil-on-canvas work shows five human figures enveloped in white fabric, each holding the knot close to their chest as if preventing the cloth from slipping and revealing their faces and bodies. A reflection of the times, it shows how we've been dealing with the ongoing pandemic in our own terms, isolated and far from one another.

"Of Being and Nothingness" by Kitty Taniguchi (Silverlens)

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PHOTO BY Website/Art Fair Philippines

There’s the kind of art that demands your attention, and there’s the kind that quietly gets you to take a second look. You can always count on Silverlens to have must-see pieces—“i am image” by Gina Osterloh and “The Beginning of History Part 2” by Norberto Roldan are easy picks—but Kitty Taniguchi’s oil-on-canvas piece seems to capture a solitude that will always keep the viewer wondering.

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Art Fair Philippines 2021 runs from May 6 to 15 through Art Fair Philippines' website.

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