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X.O.P. eXtraOrdinaryPeople

X.O.P. eXtraOrdinaryPeople

With this year’s Art Fair Philippines 2022 transitioning to a hybrid setup, Albert Avellana decided to make the best of this arrangement with four shows at the Avellana ArtGallery: A Tribute to Ting Ping Lay, Art for Everyday, XOP: eXtraOrdinaryPeople, and Slideshow/Sideshow. All four shows will be featured on the Art Fair Philippines website. The overall theme for the gallery is NO RESTRICTIONS, a play on the current relaxed pandemic guidelines of Alert Level 1, which incidentally was the time these exhibits were being set up. The theme also refers to the advantages of having both off-site and online shows during the Art Fair, in comparison to having a simple booth exhibit.


NO RESTRICTIONS

With this year’s Art Fair Philippines 2022 transitioning to a hybrid setup of an outdoor venue coupled with off-site and virtual exhibits after 2021’s online fair, Albert Avellana decided to make the best of this arrangement with four shows at the Avellana ArtGallery in Pasay City.

These shows include A Tribute to Ting Ping Lay, Art for Everyday, and XOP: eXtraOrdinaryPeople, which are physical exhibits at the gallery, and Slideshow/Sideshow, an online exhibit. All four shows will be featured on the Art Fair Philippines official website.

The overall theme for the gallery is NO RESTRICTIONS, a play on the current relaxed pandemic guidelines of Alert Level 1, which incidentally was the time these exhibits were being set up. The theme also refers to the advantages of having off-site and online shows during the Art Fair, in comparison to having a simple booth exhibit.

“The added advantage of being in a semi-online fair is that I can have more space, because I could set up a show, do a video documentation, and then take it down and do another show for Art Fair using the same space,” Albert explains. “There are advantages and disadvantages to having a booth show. Many of us do miss the one-stop-shop activities of all galleries being in one venue, but concept-wise, there is much more you can do in your own gallery—there are literally, no restrictions for the art and the artist.”

A Tribute to Ting Ping Lay
Avellana Art Gallery’s first featured show for Art Fair PH celebrates the life and works of Filipino-Chinese sculptor Ting Ping Lay. The late artist remained under the radar, known only by art scholars, museum directors, and a few collectors, for almost his entire artistic career.

Composed of ten sculptures in terracotta, painted plaster, and bronze that were borrowed from Ting’s family and from various collectors, Albert shares that this tribute show is intended to educate the audience about this quiet artist and the importance of his modernist sculptures. “It is about time that the public would know of Ting Ping Lay and his works,” Albert says of the low-profile artist.

Born in 1927 in Amoy (now Xiamen) in China, Ting Ping Lay moved to the Philippines in 1948 and enrolled in the sculpture program of the University of Santo Tomas, with artist Romulo Olazo and National Artist Ang Kiukok as his contemporaries at school. Victorio Edades was his teacher and the famed Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti was his close mentor.

It is from Monti where Ting Ping Lay acquired his stylized approach to the human figure. According to the October 2020 paper on Ting written by MVT Herrera, Monti utilized Art Nouveau and Art Deco lines in his works, and this influenced Ting as a student.

Ting, who won the prestigious Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) award in 1960, first created realistic and expressionist works that were evocative of that mid-century era, and then towards the 1980s to the 1990s exhibited more simplified, stylized examples of the human form. The artist continued to work until the 2000s.

In a move to have the artist represented and to add more significant Filipino-Chinese works to the National Museum of the Philippines, Lionel Ting, the son of the artist, along with Albert, donated two of the artist’s sculptures to the museum on December 18, 2020. The pieces featured in this exhibit are not for sale.

Art for Everyday
The second show for Art Fair PH 2022 at Avellana ArtGallery does a twist on how art is typically displayed, viewed and used. In “Art for Everyday”, Albert asked 13 Filipino artists to come up with art pieces that could actually be used at home, and installed these at the ground floor of his gallery, which is part of a 1950s-era house in Pasay City.

“I asked the artists to apply their concepts and expressions to everyday objects that we use,” Albert explains. “The object should be something you can actually use every day, and not a framed piece that you just look at. The piece should also be related, in some way, to the artistic style that they do.” The end result of this art “exercise” is literally a living space full of artwork that also double as useful household objects.

Albert divided the ground floor of his gallery into rooms that integrate all 13 artists’ pieces as furniture, décor, and tableware. In the foyer, entry foyer, a chandelier made out of Benjie Torrado’s engraved polycarbonate sheets welcome guests. The living room, near the entrance, is framed by master printer and artist Pandy Aviado’s collage abstract screens that can be used as room dividers. Perched on the coffee table are serving trays from Albert’s Abokado store that Ferdinand Doctolero turned into his dynamic and playful canvases.

Moving beyond Aviado’s screens, you will enter the bedroom, dominated by a Gary Custodio headboard that reflects the linear qualities of his abstract paintings. Other pieces in the sleeping sanctuary are Francesca Balaguer Mercado’s woven shawl, Pidge Reyes’s Béton Brut concrete clock, and sofa upholstery upcycled into a garment by one of FAB Creative’s fashion students Dee Javier.

The dining room is a visual feast of art pieces, beginning with Noell El Farol’s delicately engraved stemware, with each set of wine glasses telling a different mythical story. Ivi Avellana-Cosio’s unfired terracotta vase acts as centerpiece of a round dining table, while pottery artist Joey de Castro serves up a setting for eight made up of his dramatic stoneware.

Art for Everyday ends in an ante room composed of Dan Raralio’s interactive coffee table of found wood and stainless-steel spheres that you can play parlor games with, and chairs constructed out of Joey Cobcobo’s woodcuts, still marked with the ink from which he made prints from. The focal point of this room is a wall of umbrellas painted by young artist Arden Mopera, whose signature whimsical parasol theme is repeated in this installation.

Overall, Albert reveals that the artists enjoyed the challenge and liked the outcome. “If you’re a collector and you’re following them, it’s nice to see other things; conversely, it’s good for the artists to create things that they would not usually do.”

XOP: eXtraOrdinary People
Albert’s third show for Art Fair PH is an exhibit that showcases the works of whom he calls “eXtraOrdinary People”; relatively unknown creators who make their own forms of art. “These are people who do not claim to be artists, never studied fine arts, but what they do, in my view and in their perspective, is art,” Albert says of this unique exhibit. “Their works are raw, there is emotion…their attack is very personal, and not academic at all.”

The first extraordinary person is the late Antonio “Tony” Ingco, who started making art when he joined DOW Chemical Pacific’s art contests for PWDs. Since then, he has created artwork under the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines (DSAPI) projects and Down Syndrome Month celebration, and exhibited at Avellana ArtGallery in the mid-2000s.

Artist Gerry Ingco shares how his brother Tony began his creative journey. “He started drawing when he was ten years old. He was always doodling…and he filled his notebooks with repetitive shapes. When DOW Chemical launched their art contest, I was thinking of Tony’s doodles—it might be Art Brut, outsider art, so I decided to let him do his thing on bigger pieces of paper and entered it into the contest.”

In XOP, you can view Tony’s automatic doodles in crayons, line drawings of ink on paper, and large-scale paintings that appear as studied abstracts with vivid, uplifting hues. Tony passed away in 2018 at the age of 58.

The second extraordinary person is 17-year-old Muchiemuchie Naol, whose works made out of found objects, scrap wood, and metal are as delightful as his name. At first glance, his toys appear misshapen, lopsided even, but with a naivete that harkens back to a provincial, handmade past.

His father, Loloy, a skilled craftsman at Avellana’s, recalls how Muchiemuchie’s interest in building things started as a child. “Kumukuha lang siya ng mga pako, tapos pukpok lang siya ng pukpok sa dingding namin, hinayaan ko na lang.” Eventually, his son learned how to saw and piece together scrap wood and plyboards to form wagons, go-karts, and tiny houses.

The third extraordinary person is Pepi Cosio Mercado, who uses various mediums to express himself. This stream of consciousness going through Pepi’s mind was first documented in videos that he made as an eleven-year-old in China. Two of these short films captured him going against the grain while coming home from school (“Counterflow”), and documenting a windy day without any dialogue or obvious references, just the sound of rustling trees (“Leaves”).

Whether he’s creating accessories woven out of copper wire, sketching, painting, and playing the guitar or the ukulele—his own compositions serve as soundtrack for the Avellana ArtGallery video—Pepi looks to his grandfather, the late artist Allan Cosio, for inspiration.

“When my grandfather, Allan Cosio, was nearing his passing, I felt a deep and powerful energy coursing through me every time I played,” Pepi shares. “I realized at this time that I wanted to pour my life into music and devote myself to art. Whenever I play, I feel Lolo in the corner of the room with his cigar…it has become a practice of meditation for me to play music; a practice of magic.” Pepi is 18 years old.

Slideshow/Sideshow
The fourth exhibit at Avellana’s is a digital exhibit, entitled “Slideshow/Sideshow”, a literal slideshow of various Filipino contemporary artists’ works. This looping video of art is meant for the audience to view and appreciate the pieces over and over again.

Albert stresses that his four shows for this year’s Art Fair 2022 are more emotionally-charged than commercially-driven.

“This is an opportunity to discover new artists, and also a way to get to know important older artists, too,” he says. “These shows are representative of what I’ve been doing, and what I’ve been enjoying doing this past year. It’s of the moment, so why not do this.”

Time & Location

Avellana ArtGallery

23 Mar to 1 Apr 2022

2680 FB Harrison St., Pasay City, Philippines 1300