Contemporary art taking off in Philippines as galleries host more visitors and collectors take a global view

At the opening of Art Fair Philippines in Manila last month, a young sound artist named Jon Romero was using an overseas visitor to conduct electricity between metal sheets. Each time Romero tapped on the visitor’s arm, the electrical charge created a sound. Romero began playing the visitor like an instrument.

“It’s the electricity flowing into the skin that makes the sound,” explains Romero. “I call this work a sound bridge – we have a connection with each other, with our surroundings, with our environment.”

Romero is part of a Manila-based collective of artists called WSK that was invited by the art fair to create a room of immersive, interactive sound installations.

“Part of what we want to do is to expand the awareness of the local audience towards all kinds of contemporary art,” says Trickie Lopa, who founded the fair five years ago with Lisa Ongpin-Periquet. “That installation – I don’t think anyone would have taken them seriously five years ago, but now we have more younger artists venturing into non-traditional areas like sound art.”

That was evident throughout the fair, which took place inside a multi-storey car park in the lively Makati shopping district. But the trend can also be seen throughout Manila, where galleries, non-profit art spaces and museums are taking more risks than ever before – and forging ahead with a new, more cosmopolitan outlook.

Read more at South China Morning Post.

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