Text and images by KRISTOFER PURNELL
There is a lot that art has to teach about the world around us, the way we interact with one another, and how we perceive ourselves. But oftentimes, art goes further in its discursive manner especially in a contemporary setting where multiple forms of discourse can be contained in a singular artwork—and all a piece asks is to be paid attention to and be understood.
This is the particular movement that prompted the collective ALT Philippines to reframe the way an art show can be enjoyed but maintain that level of art discussions among master and amateur artists, viewers and connoisseurs. Bringing together more than 150 contemporary artists from 10 galleries—Artinformal, Blanc, Finale Art File, Galleria Duemila, MO_Space, The Drawing Room, Underground, Vinyl on Vinyl, West Gallery, and 1335 Mabini—ALT Philippines 2020 turned the SMX Convention Center at SM Aura Taguig into a curatorial platform for creative exchange and discourse.
What makes the art show quite unique is how each gallery interprets their own way of reframing art. Galleria Duemila, for example, through the help of curator Angel Velasco Shaw—who had recently worked on the “Not Visual Noise” exhibit at the Ateneo Art Gallery—interprets the gallery’s “Carpe Diem: Beyond Seizing the Day” theme not by simply going beyond predictable art practices but by allowing artists to dab in different and unfamiliar realms, through traditional means or not, yet still manage to deliver messages with the plainest details.
Another direction was by MO_Space, which showcased their artists’ best works that demonstrated their strengths yet still fell within the gallery’s ideals of being artist-centric rather than market-driven. Meanwhile Underground exhibited solely the works of Valerie Chua, whose pieces focus on people and memories regardless of where the person finds themselves across time and space.
In the spirit of community, ALT Philippines went the extra mile by inviting each of the galleries to have some of their artists’ works be put up for sale, with all proceeds going to the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption. These pieces range from spare works the artists had in their homes and studios to specialized pieces to encourage aspiring collectors to build their supply.
Such is the evolving nature of contemporary art that it brings artists and art-lovers together in a venue for creative confabulation, and to push further the boundaries of perceiving art.