Art Fair

Art Fair Philippines 2024


    For Art Fair Philippines 2024, Gajah Gallery presents a roster of influential artists who hail from the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United States. This diverse group of artists includes those who redefine abstract expressionism, reference and subvert the western artistic canon, and search for respite amidst the noise of today’s urban life—themes that transcend boundaries and resonate with concerns of Filipino art audiences. Moreover, the presentation features renowned artists who have partnered with the gallery’s art space and foundry in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the Yogya Art Lab (YAL) — two of whom are Filipino artists, BenCab and Leslie de Chavez.

    Philippine National Artist BenCab presents a new bronze sculpture of his signature, decades-long muse: Sabel. Encountering a scavenger in the 1960s, the artist went on to sketch and paint her for decades—her form constantly evolving, often becoming abstract. BenCab’s collaboration with YAL has only opened up more possibilities for the intricacies of her lines and shape. Rendered in bronze, a medium often associated with permanence, Sabel, here, is no longer invisible and fleeting—but a symbol of endurance.

    Paying homage to the Bulul sculptures traditionally made in the Cordillera highlands in the Philippines, Leslie de Chavez has created a pair of bronze sculptures together with YAL’s artisans. Based on a pair from the artist’s own collection, The Oracles (Deities for the Mystical and the Opulent) reinterprets these traditionally wooden sculptures in bronze and gold, seeking to reverently capture and memorialise the spiritual essence in the original carvings.

    Other prominent artists push the boundaries of sculpture in Southeast Asia through their collaborations with YAL. The late Ashley Bickerton (1959 – 2022)’s sculpture Double Helix Hammerhead reveals his complex explorations of environmental themes, a focus he had evolved since he relocated to Bali in the 1990s. Captivating audiences in last year’s Projects sector, Yunizar’s iconic bronze sculptures of surreal, primordial creatures provoke both fear and awe—blurring the line between the earthly and ethereal.

    Other artists explore the relevance of contemporary painting in the region. Indonesia-based painters Erizal As and Ibrahim employ abstract expressionism to explore the depths of their interiority, yet the two artists are still heavily influenced by their surroundings, drawing inspiration, for instance, from the natural landscapes of West Sumatra. Rosit Mulyadi distorts and obscures Old Master works in art history with paint and text, imbuing these works with vernacular language and juxtaposing issues from his local context with their imagery.

    Young artists such as Kayleigh Goh and Ridho Rizki create paintings that encourage stillness and contemplation. Using predominantly cement and wood, Goh utilizes highly sophisticated techniques in painting to explore the city. For Ridho Rizki, the process of creating art similarly becomes a means to rest the body and mind, and rebuild the meditative space. Combining pointillism, impressionism, and still life, Rizki builds this space by collecting unnoticed objects, arranging them in a composition, then presenting them in a way such that ordinary things become enigmas—leading audiences into a deeper way of seeing.

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